WENDELL — Clayton utilized its depth at running back and had little trouble securing a 34-14 win over East Wake Friday night.
The Comets (5-3, 3-1 Greater Neuse River 4A) scored three times on the ground in the first half en route to a 24-7 lead at the break. Clayton rushed for one more score, a 67-yarder by Tamerick Barbour on the third play of the second half, to become unreachable.
Clayton coach Gary Fowler said his speedsters, Barbour and Cedric Harris, and his muscle back, Jace Brown, have been clicking lately.
“That’s kind of been our backbone here these last few weeks,” Fowler said. “They have really come on these last three weeks as well as any backs I’ve had in a long time.”
Brown did most of the heavy lifting for the Comets, scoring on carries of 8 and 4 yards in the first half, but was well complimented by his rushing counterparts. Fowler said the presence of Barbour and Harris added to Brown’s productivity.
“They can’t just gang up on (Brown) because they have to worry about (Harris) and (Barbour) on those edges, and that’s been the good thing,” he said.
Harris started the scoring in the game with a 3-yard run halfway through the first quarter.
East Wake (1-7, 1-3) first got on the board after recovering a Clayton fumble at the start of the second period. Alex Cowan, who replaced an injured Trent Evans at quarterback, made the turnover count as he threw a 46-yard strike to Dominique Lane for a score. Josh Siler made the extra point to pull the Warriors within 3, 10-7.
Cowan hoofed 5 yards for East Wake’s final score of the game in the third quarter, and Siler again hit the extra point, leaving the deficit at 31-14.
Clayton kicker Nick Christensen never missed in the win, punching in four extra points and two field goals. His 26-yard make set the Comets up with a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and he capped off the scoring in the game with a 44-yard boot at the start of the fourth.
East Wake drove deep into Comet territory on the final drive of the game. Cowan ran as far as the Clayton 13 yard line, but no further before time expired.