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Comets pull out road win over Magna Vista

South Boston News
William Davis pushes away from a Magna Vista defender in Friday’s 20-14 road win. (David Conner II photo)
SoVaNow.com / October 28, 2019
Sparked by two blocked punts, Halifax County High School varsity football stormed into Magna Vista Friday night and pulled out a 20-14 road win, 20-14.

The Halifax special teams’ success set up two touchdowns for the Comets and changed the direction of the game. As a result, Halifax has a shot at an 8-2 regular season. The Comets should be favored in their final two games - at Patrick County Friday and home for Senior Night against Tunstall.

Halifax is now 6-2, 3-1 Piedmont District.

Halifax junior Tucker Harris, who had the key late punt block, said Saturday, “It was a great win. We think we’re going to get a home game for the playoffs for the first time since 1991. We’re really excited about that win, we really needed it.”

Harris got the decisive late success on special teams. Jamill Jackson had the other block.

“We played really well against a good Magna Vista offense…We knew it was going to be a close game. We came out and played hard.” Harris had a punt block and a fumble recovery.

Now, Halifax will wait for the latest round of VHSL ratings, to be released Monday.

Halifax coach Grayson Throckmorton said, “We’ve got a good chance (of a home playoff game). We’ve got to get through these next two but I think we can if we do what we’re supposed to.

“Magna Vista is a really good team. I think they’re improved from last year. They’re like all high school teams. They made some mistakes that relay hurt them, just like we did. But …we made some plays at the right time,” Throckmorton said. “The bottom line was this, we played well on offense at times, we made some good plays on offense. We had to throw the ball a fair amount because they had a tough run game defense,” said Throckmorton. “It opened up the passing game.”

Halifax had to capitalize there, and the injury-riddled Comets also needed key work from some replacements. Throckmorton cited David Brown and Jacob Davis, along with Malachi Dixon for stalwart work.

Halifax also found success finding open seams in the MV defense.

The Comets overcame an early fumble, but averted early trouble when the defense also forced a Warrior bobble on the subsequent MV possession.

Then, Halifax struck, going on a four-play scoring drive, highlighted by a 55-yard jaunt by William Davis. The Comets finished with a Davis scoring run with 6:51 left in the first period. It was clear from the outset that MV had trouble plugging gaps on defense.

MV later showed an inability to tackle at bad times. Halifax found open spaces at key times to keep MV in check. Halifax also contained the Warriors’ big play making advantage.

MV had one true breakout play - an 87-yard jaunt to the outside by Louis Taylor.

The Warriors showed explosiveness at times. MV took a 7-6 lead on a 69-yard scoring pass from to Tyler Johnson from quarterback Dyrus Hairston with 37.9 seconds left in the first period. MV hit the conversion.

Johnson did much of the work on the play, outrunning the Comet coverage.

Comet special teams prowess had as much as anything to do with this win.

The first block came with 2:13 left in the first half, setting the Comets up with first and ten from the Warriors’ 36.

Zion Wilson plunged two yards for a 12-7 halftime lead.

Davis later made a key pickoff that squelched Warrior momentum with 9:36 left in the third quarter.

Halifax fell victim to Warrior speed with 4:46 left in the third. Taylor bolted outside to sprint to paydirt on an 87-yard score.

The Warriors got the two-point conversion and led 14-12.

MV recovered the ball on a freak play on the ensuing kickoff, with first and 10 at the HC 45.

The Warriors led by two, 14-12, at the end of three periods, but the Comets outperformed the home team in the critical final quarter.

Halifax fumbled on a botched exchange with 8:29 left.

The Comets got the critical second punt block with 2:47 left, setting up a first and ten at the Warriors 24. Halifax sent everybody and overwhelmed MV.

Davis later got behind the Warrior defense and hauled in a 30-yard touchdown pass with 2:23 left. Davis also blasted his way for the two-point conversion, and the Comets had a 20-14 lead.

Magna Vista had one final opportunity to score, but the Comets kept the Warriors out of the end zone.

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