Comets look to show out on big stage

Nov. 23—Velma-Alma is in the midst of a good problem and that is having to practice on Thanksgiving week as the Comets now look to show out on the big stage in the Class B Quarterfinals.

Coming into the third round with a record of 9-3, the Comets will set the stage with the 11-0 Regent Prep Rams as two of the final eight teams still in the hunt for the golden football trophy.

Regent Prep comes off a 69-20 victory over Quinton while the Comets beat Ringwood 52-6. Both teams have hopes to win and move to the semi-finals next week.

Comets head coach Randy Norton will have his team in the quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons and is excited to practice during the holiday season.

"We have always said that for years and years around here, if we are practicing on Thanksgiving, it is a great experience," Norton said. "We have played well the past seven weeks and Regent is a really good football team and they are really explosive and we have put up a lot of points too. We have scored around 50 for that long and we haven't given up that many, so it will be a challenge with them. They are really fast and really explosive so we get to test our speed."

This year, the OSSAA made the decision to start the neutral site a week earlier and will have this game, along with the other Class B Quarterfinals, at three different sites.

Velma-Alma and Regent Prep will play at Southern Nazarene University in Bethany on the artificial turf of a college campus. Norton is excited his team will get the experience.

"We have played on turf once this year and I hear that Southern Nazarene has really nice facilities," Norton said. "We always travel really well and I expect a lot of people to be there — we get so much support out here all the way around, and I expect it to be really loud."

In the last five games, the Comets' defense had three shutouts and has only given up two total touchdowns. Last week, a late interception sealed the game late in the first half of action.

While this defense is really young compared to last year's round of 16 team, Norton said he is excited this defense has stepped up and performed way higher than his expectations.

"We were unsure about it at the first of the year because we lost our leading tackler and only had one senior that started every game last year," Norton said. "We were fairly young and had some experience but putting them all together in different spots and making it fit together."

As the Comets kick-off at 7 p.m. Nov. 25 at Southern Nazarene University, Norton said the focus will be on this game and then they will turn their attention to the semi-finals if they are victorious.

"I feel like there is something special about this team. They are a just a special group of kids that have done everything we asked with a good attitude," Norton said. "Going 2-3 in non-district, they could have started fighting amongst themselves, but they haven't and they have gotten closer. We win this week and make it to the semi-finals ... it will only be the seventh or eighth time to make it this far. It will be big for them, so we will play it one game at a time. You've got to go get a win this week and then we can worry about the next week when that comes."