CLAYTON — In their second straight meeting in two weeks, Clayton and Knightdale produced a near mirror image of their Oct. 26 contest as the Comets ran past the Knights 39-14 Friday night.
Clayton (9-3) opened up a 24-0 lead over Knightdale (7-4) as Comet backs Jace Brown, Tamerick Barbour and Cedric Harris combined for 139 yards on just 12 carries in the first half. By the end of the game, the Comets amassed 381 total yards on the ground.
“They’ve been carrying us,” Comet coach Gary Fowler said of the running trio. “Those guys and our offensive line just keep getting better.”
A 32-yard field goal by Nick Christensen opened up the scoring in the game, and Clayton went on to post 36 more points before the Knights ever lit up the scoreboard.
Barbour scored on a 59-yard breakaway run and Brown added another score from 5 yards out to set up a 17-0 Clayton lead halfway through the second quarter.
Anthony Gaskins intercepted a pass by Knightdale quarterback Dylon Alexander, and Comet quarterback Sam May rewarded Gaskins with a 24-yard passing strike before the break.
“That was big,” Fowler said. “Instead of being up two and a half scores, we were up three and a half, and that right there gave us a little bit more of a cushion.”
Harris scored from 3 yards out, and a two-point conversion by Kevin Peppers gave Clayton a 32-0 lead.
Harris finished the game with 170 yards on 16 carries.
Malik Johnson scored the first of Knightdale’s two touchdowns on a 3-yard carry at the start of the fourth quarter. The Knights played without starting quarterback Marquavious Johnson, who injured his foot in the game against Clayton the week before. Fowler acknowledged the Knights’ effort in the absence of their star player.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to Knightdale,” he said. “They came in today without (Marquavious) Johnson at quarterback, and I know that was a big loss to them because he was a big weapon. But tonight, those kids never quit out here.”