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Comets get first win ever over MV

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The Comet defense scored the first two touchdowns Thursday night against Magna Vista. From top, The defense forces the fumble, that was scooped up and carried in by Traivius Chappell. Later, Kenneth Davis Jr. forces the fumble, carried in for the touchdown by Herbert Brooks. (David Conner II photos) / October 29, 2018
This is breakthrough territory.

Halifax County High School varsity football had never vanquished Magna Vista, which has a stout prep football program, since joining the Piedmont District.

All that changed Thursday night, as the Comets routed the Warriors, 36-14, at home.

The win guarantees Halifax, 5-3, will finish no worse than .500 on the regular season. Halifax has two games remaining. The Comets host Franklin County tonight at 7 p.m., followed by a Friday night trek to GW-Danville.

Halifax also appears to be headed for the regional playoffs.

The Comets got the job done by relying on the 3-4 defense, which is improving rapidly. Halifax has a potent and versatile rushing attack, and special teams are improving, particularly in the punting game.

Comet head coach Grayson Throckmorton said, “Magna Vista is a very good football team and a good program.”

“It was a really good night for the Blue Comets.”

Halifax had excellent practice preparing for the Warriors’ spread offense.

The defense stepped up, particularly in bringing pressure on the quarterback, said Throckmorton.

“We played good run defense against them,” he said.

Halifax is in the building process of a program turnaround, and Throckmorton is making the kinds of moves to get this sometimes downtrodden program more relevant.

The Comet defense set the tone early.

Junior linebacker Traivius Chappell recovered an early Warrior fumble and ran 40 yards for the first score. Armiche Crawley connected on the point after touchdown. Halifax led, 7-0, with 5:09 left.

The Warriors forced an early 7-7 tie.

But Halifax got a strong punt early in the second quarter from William Davis, pinning the Warriors inside their five.

Magna Vista later fumbled again. Herbert Brooks recovered the ball and scored on a 12-yard return to lift the Comets to a 14-7 lead with 1:54 left before the half.

Halifax used solid defensive pressure to stymie Magna Vista after the Warriors got the first possession of the second half.

Kenneth Davis Jr. then sparked the first Comet possession after halftime with a 41 yard scoring run up the middle.

Davis also redeemed a bad snap on the conversion attempt to pad the score to 22-7 in the third period.

W. Davis later snared an errant Warrior throw at midfield, setting up a nifty move from Otis Slayton that put the offense in excellent shape.

Brooks later scored from the one-yard line to extend the Comet margin to 29-7.

Davis later added an 11-yard scoring romp to extend the Comet lead to 36-7 before the Warriors added an inconsequential final touchdown.

Devonte Davis added a late interception, and Halifax forced four Magna Vista turnovers. Halifax had two fumble recoveries, getting 12 points from its defense, and two pass interceptions.

But the Warriors got knocked back early and were never really competitive in this game.

Halifax is getting more defensive pressure out of the D-line, in the 3-4 alignment. Skylar Ashworth is playing at the nose guard spot, followed by Herbert Brooks and Tucker Harris manning the end spots.

“Those guys did well. They’re carrying out their assignments,” said Throckmorton.

Halifax also got pressure from the edge, and also from the linebackers, including Brandon Davis and Zyon Wilson.

“It was good getting some pressure, making (Magna Vista) uncomfortable,” said Throckmorton.

Halifax hangs its hat on basic fundamentals and ball control. Halifax is not throwing well, as the Comets need improved blocking up front.

Throckmorton said added consistency from the passing attack would free up a more effective ground game.

Halifax is getting good blocking across the scheme, with a variety of options overland.

“We can sustain drives, move it down the field, and then break a run,” said Throckmorton. Halifax needs improvement on its play-action pass.

The Comets have two games this week, with a short turnaround to travel to play a very good spread team in GW.

“We have challenged the team. Our guys are looking at it as a challenge,” said Throckmorton.

Throckmorton said the Comets were seeded eighth in the 8-team regional field before Thursday.

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