Clayton produced three 1,000-yard rushers

tstevens@newsobserver.comNovember 13, 2012 

Photo By Damon Thomas

Leesville Road's Braxton Berrios (8) carries the sledgehammer before the 2nd round of the NCHSAA 4A Football Playoffs against Middle Creek. Apex, NC, Friday, November 9, 2012. Leesville Road wins 37-30.


Clayton, long known for running the football, had one of its most productive seasons on the ground in longtime head coach Gary Fowler’s final season.

The Comets had three 1,000-yard rushers – Tamerick Barbout (1,499 yards and 14 touchdowns), Cedric Harris (1,088 yards and 18 touchdowns) and Jace Brown (1,020 and 9 touchdowns).

“That’s just a testament to the way these guys worked in the offseason and during the season,” Fowler said. “It’s all about what we were able to do with our strength program, especially with our offensive linemen. Those guys are so much a part of this, making it happen up front.”

The Comets ran for 4,178 yards in 13 games (321.4 a game) and averaged 7 yards a carry.

Berrios’ sledgehammer: Leesville Road junior Braxton Berrios is known for his big plays on offense, but he’s outstanding on defense, too.

He was given the honor of bringing the Pride’s sledgehammer out last week before Leesville’s 37-30 victory over Middle Creek.

“The sledgehammer was given to me by the 2009 seniors that played on defense,” said Leesville coach Chad Smothers. “It is a symbol of our blue collar work ethic on defense.”

The sledgehammer is awarded each game to the player who had the best defensive performance the previous week or to someone who had a great week of practice on defense.

A year ago, Berrios was an offensive star in the Pride’s 42-21 loss to the Trojans in the third round. Just like this season, both teams entered that game undefeated and Nos. 1 and 2 in The N&O rankings.

Bunn is rolling: Bunn was in The N&O rankings in the preseason, but quickly fell out after losing to Wilson Fike and Southern Nash in two of its first three games.

But since the difficult start, the Wildcats have won nine straight games, including Friday’s 31-14 victory over SouthWest Edgecombe.

Tarik Cohen has rushed for 1,558 yards to lead a Wildcats’ offense that is averaging 32.0 points per game and is rushing for 236.2 yards per game.

Since a 34-14 loss to Southern Nash in the third game, Bunn has held eight of nine opponents to 15 points or fewer.

The Wildcats play at 13-0 Jacksonville Northside on Friday. The Monarchs have been held to fewer than 34 points only once in the past 10 games.

Orange turnaround: Orange’s 10 wins this season is the most at the school in at least a dozen years.

Coach Pat Moser’s club was 6-6 in 2011, which was the school’s second nonlosing record since 1999.

The Panthers (10-2) aren’t far from being undefeated this season. They lost to unbeaten Carrboro 27-19 and to Cardinal Gibbons (which finished 11-1) 28-21.

Orange plays at Eastern Alamance on Friday.

Stevens: 919-829-8910

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