Corinth Holders broke its season-long football losing streak with an exclamation point on a damp Thursday night.
Mike Darden ran for four touchdowns, while Johnavan Neal rushed for two and passed for another, as the Pirates walloped Smithfield-Selma 47-0 in a battle of previously winless football teams in the Pirates’ homecoming contest.
Corinth Holders (1-6), which finished 9-3 last season, snapped an eight-game slide.
SSS (0-7) has lost 20 straight games going back to a 14-7 win over Triton on Oct. 24, 2014.
The Two Rivers 3A opener was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved a day earlier because of the threat of inclement weather from Hurricane Matthew.
Corinth Holders led 27-0 at halftime, scoring on four of five possessions while holding the visitors to one first down before intermission.
Neal hit Demorris Lee for a 37-yard touchdown pass on the Pirates’ second play from scrimmage, while Darden scored the other three first-half touchdowns.
The Pirates scored on three of their four possessions in the second half.
SSS finished with four first downs and was never inside the Pirates’ 18-yard line.
“We really needed this one,” Corinth Holders coach Bubba Williams said. “The kids needed this for their morale. Our offensive line did a great job blocking tonight. The quarterback made good reads and we didn’t turn the ball over. Defensively, we wanted to get a lot of people to the ball, and we did a good job of that tonight.”
Corinth Holders leads the all-time series 4-0, including a 49-14 decision last season in Smithfield.
Leading 14-0, the Pirates went on a 14-play, 80-yard drive ending in Darden’s 1-yard scoring run with 2:47 left in the first half.
THEY SAID IT
“They’ve all been tough,” SSS coach Wes Hill said of his team’s 0-7 start. “We just make too many mistakes on top of each other and implode. We fought back and moved the ball in the second half. But we get a penalty or a bad break and get in the hole.
“Those are the things we’ve got to fix.”
THREE TO KNOW
Mike Darden, Corinth Holders: The junior running back had his first career four-touchdown game.
“We were an army of 11 out there,” Darden said. “The line really stepped up. We put in a lot of work in practice this week and did what we had to do. We needed this win badly. We just can’t lose any more games.”
Johnavan Neal, Corinth Holders: The senior produced 135 yards total offense and was responsible for three touchdowns.
“Once we started clicking we really rallied together,” Neal said. “We practiced with high intensity and came together as a team. We really needed this win. I hope it will be a game changer and a momentum builder for us.”
Demorris Lee, Corinth Holders: The senior had two catches for 52 yards and the touchdown.
BY THE NUMBERS
51: Rushing yards for the Pirates’ Jimmy Ferrell on four tries.
68: Total yards for Smithfield-Selma.
87: Rushing yards for Neal on 11 carries.
174: Rushing yards for Darden on 21 attempts.
297: Rushing yards for Corinth Holders.
SSS hosts Western Harnett on Oct. 14, while Corinth Holders visits conference rival Triton on the same night.