WENDELL — In a nonconference matchup that featured a stark contrast in offensive philosophies, Clayton pulled away from rival Corinth Holders, 41-12, behind a prolific rushing attack to even its record at 2-2 on the season.
The Comets employed their typical old school approach, grinding out the yards and the clock on the strength of its ground game.
That’s not to say the Comets had no big plays as three long first-half touchdown runs pushed the Comets out to a 21-6 lead.
Senior Tam Barbour was responsible for a pair of those long scores, finding the end zone first on a trap play from 37 yards out on Clayton’s first possession of the game. Then, after the Pirates answered with a score of their own, Barbour struck again from 66 yards out for a 14-6 lead with four minutes left in the opening quarter.
“You saw who broke it open,” said Clayton coach Gary Fowler of Barbour and his long runs. “Tam’s been in our backfield for three years and I count on Tam to do a lot of things for our team…and he did.”
Corinth Holders (0-4) instead relied on its quick passing game to move the ball in the first half.
The Pirates took what was available in the first half, which happened to be the short and intermediate range passing game. Senior quarterback Kenneth Collins nickeled-and-dimed the Comets for 94 yards alone in the opening half to help keep Corinth Holders close.
Despite the Pirates’ success through the air, it was a surprise run that put the Pirates on the board first. Darrius Grandberry took the draw, one of just four designed running plays in the first half, for a 47-yard TD midway through the first quarter.
Ced Harris got in on the trend of long scores with a 37-yard touchdown run of his own as the Comets were relentless in pounding the ball.
Barbour finished the game with 143 yards on just four carries for his second consecutive 100-plus yard performance. Jace Brown, Harris and Ced Rouse all added at least 50 more yards on the ground and a rushing score each as Clayton totaled 435 yards on the ground for evening
“We really mixed it up,” Fowler added, referring to the play calling of offensive coordinator Anthony Barbour. “That just shows that maybe our offense is starting to gel a little bit.”
William Floyd completed the scoring for the Pirates with a 73-yard scamper of his own and finished the contest with 104 yards on three attempts.
Collins finished the night with 110 yard through the air on 12 of 19 passing for the Pirates.