Lakewood’s Sariya Doss looks for a teammate
Sports

Lakewood swept to open season

Winter sports got underway Wednesday for the Lakewood Leopards. To open the season, the Lady Leopards faced off against West Bladen. Powered by a fourth quarter run, the Lady Knights defeated Lakewood, 35-26. The Lakewood boys fell in a more lopsided affair against their West Bladen counterparts, losing the first game of the season by a final of 64-28.

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Caleb Kennedy
Sports

CHS soccer players honored

The Clinton High School soccer team finished 19-3-2, and 9-0-1 in conference to take the SAC-7 Conference crown. The Dark Horses secured the No. 1 seed for the first time in school history and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the state. The Horses were ousted in the fourth round of the playoffs. Among those honored as part of the All-Region Team, along with other accolades, were:

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Sports

Raiders ready for upcoming season

The Midway basketball teams kick their season off this week, each looking to make strides from where they stood just one year ago. For the Lady Raiders, they look to keep things rolling now that they have had a full season under head coach Matthew Bagwell, while the Midway boys will look to make some adjustments under newly-returning head coach Matthew Creech.

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The Sampson Middle School boys soccer team finished the season undefeated, winning both the regular season title and the conference championship. The boys conceded just two goals all season. Pictured, from left, are: Bottom row - Josue Gutierrez, Marco Paz, Will Johnson, Rojelio Guardado, Brandt Sumner, Zach Pope, Camden Parker, Holden Spell, Ben Darden, Jacob Santana, Lake Montgomery and Brody Gunnells; and top row - Robbie Montgomery (assistant), Mauricio Hannah-Cubas, Walter Santillana, James Sinclair, Jacob Baggett, Malachi Rosa, Tim Sumner (head coach), Cullen Brewer, Elijah Hammill, Cullen Warren, Nick Rivera, Ryan McClanahan and Alicia Sumner (assistant). Not pictured: Palmer Williams, Alvin Ramirez, Sady Valladares and Jared Garcia.
Sports

SMS soccer goes undefeated

The Sampson Middle School boys soccer team finished the season undefeated, winning both the regular season title and the conference championship. The boys conceded just two goals all season. Pictured, from left, are: Bottom row – Josue Gutierrez, Marco Paz, Will Johnson, Rojelio Guardado, Brandt Sumner, Zach Pope, Camden Parker, Holden Spell, Ben Darden, Jacob Santana, Lake Montgomery and Brody Gunnells; and top row – Robbie Montgomery (assistant), Mauricio Hannah-Cubas, Walter Santillana, James Sinclair, Jacob Baggett, Malachi Rosa, Tim Sumner (head coach), Cullen Brewer, Elijah Hammill, Cullen Warren, Nick Rivera, Ryan McClanahan and Alicia Sumner (assistant). Not pictured: Palmer Williams, Alvin Ramirez, Sady Valladares and Jared Garcia.

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Sam Hope cuts through traffic, looking to gain yards.
                                 David Johnson | Sampson Independent
Sports

Crusaders drop heartbreaker

A cold, clear night set the stage at Harrells Christian Academy on Friday night as the NCISAA Division II State Championship unfolded before a huge crowd from both Harrells and Cabarrus Academy. These two teams met just a month ago when HCA got the 21-14 win, but the stakes were much higher this time around.

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Sports

Crusaders set to host state title

The Harrells Crusaders football team is back in the NCISAA Football State Championship game, which is set for this Friday at 7 p.m. This marks the second straight year the Crusaders have advanced to the title game, but this time they will have the luxury of hosting the momentous occasion.

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Clinton’s Elijah Kirby (9) and Jakwan Wilson (24) combine to trap a Panther ball carrier for a loss during first quarter action.
                                 Mike Carter | Sampson Independent
Sports

Panthers slip past Clinton

Two old rivals went head to head Friday night as the second round of the NCHSAA 2A Football playoffs to unfolded. With advancement laid out on the line, East Duplin and Clinton renewed an old rivalry, each fighting for a chance to advance to next weeks playoffs. Fans packed both stands as a chilly and clear night set the stage for this heavyweight showdown. In the end, though, fate swung in East Duplin’s favor as the Panthers celebrated a 39-22 victory to stay alive in postseason play.

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Wildcat workhorse Bobby Dial takes off for a first down.
                                 David Johnson | Sampson Independent
Sports

Northside ends Hobbton’s season

The Northside Pinetown Panthers’ claws were sharp and strong as they dominated the Hobbton Wildcats in the second round of the high school playoffs. The final score was 69-20. It was always going to be a tall task for Hobbton against Northside, which lost in last year’s state championship game to Murphy.

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Clinton’s Walker Spell makes a play for possession of the ball early in the first half of Thursday’s fourth round match.
Sports

Top-seed Clinton falls in OT

The Clinton Dark Horses invited the Redskins of Manteo into Darkness Soccer Complex for the NCHSAA 2A Soccer Playoffs fourth round matchup on Thursday. The stands were standing-room only and set the stage for an electric environment, one that culminated in a nailbiter finish that saw a heartbreaking end to the season for the top-seed Horses.

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Dark Horse midfielder Caleb Kennedy (8) pilfers the ball from a Trask player and starts a late game run on the Titan goal.
                                 Mike Carter | Sampson Independent
Sports

Clinton wins defensive thriller

A clear and chilly night greeted the soccer fans of Clinton and Trask High Schools on Monday night as the teams took to the soccer pitch in search of a berth into the fourth round of the NCHSAA 2A Soccer Playoffs. After a defensive slug-fest between two extremely talented teams, it was the Dark Horses that scratched out the lone goal, winning 1-0 in a pair of overtime sessions.

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