Eric Hoy passed for two touchdowns and rushed for his team's other two, leading Clayton to a 27-19 win over Corinth Holders in a non-conference Johnston County showdown Friday night.
Clayton improved to 1-1 with the victory while the Pirates are 0-2.
Hoy rushed for 107 yards and passed for 148 for the Comets, who have won all four meetings with the Pirates. Blake Joyner rushed for 80 yards and caught three passes for 109.
"I think the big thing was that we saw improvement over last week (in the loss to Cleveland)," Clayton coach Randy Pinkowski said. "We're starting to do the things we're supposed to do. We knew last week we were getting our first-time senior quarterback up to speed. Right now we're like those brownies Mama took out of the oven. We're still too early and a little gooey in the middle."
Cole Sakowski passed for 108 yards and two TDs for Corinth Holders, while Sadavion Dixon got the other touchdown on a long punt return. Tony Kirkwood had seven catches for 121 yards for the Pirates.
"They had that first big drive and scored on some big plays and we were playing catch-up the rest of the ball game," Corinth Holders coach Barry Honeycutt said. "We made big plays, but we've got to get to where we're not catching up the whole ball game. Our defense had some great stops and created some turnovers, but offensively we've got to move the ball and score."
The Comets scored on their drive following the opening kickoff, with Hoy connecting for a 30-yard strike to Joyner for the TD. Daniel Alioto added the kick.
The Pirates got it back in their second possession, following a fumble recovery at the Clayton 30. That set up Sakowski's 20-yard scoring pass to Kirkwood in the left corner of the end zone, and Jackson Creech adding the kick to tie the score with 3:15 left in the quarter.
Lightning struck for the Pirates with 8:36 left in the half, when Dixon found a seam for the 65-yard punt return to make it 13-7. But Creech's kick went awry.
And the Comets took the lead with 5:02 left in the half, when Hoy scored from six yards out and Alioto's kick made it 14-13.
Clayton drove 52 yards to start the second half but lost a fumble at the Corinth Holders 1.
The Comets got the ball back when Michael Kwiatkowski intercepted a Sakowski pass at the Pirate 18. Three plays later Hoy bulled in from four yards out, and Alioto's boot made it 21-13 at 3:08.
"(Joyner) and my offensive line and my tight end (Raheem Parker) were all really big for us," Hoy said. "Without them, I'm nothing. We knew this would be a tough game. It's a big rivalry now. AS very important game."
A long kickoff return put the Pirates in business at the Clayton 27, and on the next play Sakowski found Dymon Walker for the scoring pass. But Sakowski's conversion pass failed to leave it at 21-19.
"We just made too many mistakes," Sakowski said. "And when we needed to make a play we didn't. We had some good plays here and there, but we didn't finish enough."
But Clayton went 80 yards in three plays, with Hoy connecting with Joyner on a 67-yard pass. Alioto's kick failed and it was 27-19 with 1:28 left in the quarter.
"Eric threw me some great passes and our line did an awesome job," Joyner said. "It was all heart tonight. We've got a lot of talent, but we're still putting it together. I think we can go a long way."
The Comets locked it up with just over a minute to go in the game, when Hoy went around right end for 27 yards on a fake punt and the Pirates were out of time outs.