Sampson Independent

Gridiron preview: Week 3, Pt. 1

Welcome to Week 3, Sampson County Football fans! This week’s preview story is going to be done in two parts as the upcoming Labor Day weekend will mean Hobbton and Lakewood are playing tonight! The remainder of the county schools — Clinton, Midway, Union and Harrells — will all play on Friday night.

Before getting into the preview for tonight’s games, let me first issue a giant apology to the Union football team for a mishap in last week’s preview in which it was stated that the Spartans lost last year’s matchup with South Robeson, 32-6. Union actually won that game — as they did again this past Friday — so to Spartan Nation, my apologies.

Now, let’s get into tonight’s games.

Lakewood @ Lejeune

Barrett Sloan and his Lakewood Leopards are off to a great start so far this young season. After a blowout win against Pender in Week 1, Lakewood had to endure a tougher contest in Week 2 at Trask, who has had a cloud of adversity surrounding its program after recent controversy. The Leopards didn’t get caught up in that emotion and hung on for a solid 14-6 win in a game that could have easily been a trap. Entering Week 3, the Leopards are set to hit the road once again, this time heading east on Highway 24 to take on Lejeune. The Devil Pups aren’t exactly off to the best of starts so far this season, losing 44-24 to Bear Grass Charter in Week 1 and Spring Creek, 45-14, in Week 2. Honestly, Week 3 doesn’t look to be any better for Lejeune. Lakewood has proved themselves to be a formidable team in the first two weeks of action and in last years meeting, the Leopards took a convincing 41-0 win. In fact, taking a glance though the record books of recent seasons, the Devil Pups have only won one game since the 2014 season. That game came in the final week of play in 2015 so entering tonight’s matchup, Lejeune comes in on a 24-game losing streak. Can the Devil Pups break the streak? Or does Lakewood make it 25? Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Hobbton vs North Johnston

Joe Salas and his Hobbton Wildcats are riding a wave of emotion into Week 3 as they are coming off their first win since 2016. Now, can they make it two straight? Tonight, the Wildcats return to Newton Grove for their first home football game this season as they host the North Johnston Panthers. The Panthers, just like Hobbton, enter Week 3 with a 1-1 record. In Week 1, they squeaked out a close 27-26 victory over Southeast Halifax but took a loss to Rosewood in Week 2, 48-22. Tonight’s matchup should prove to be a fascinating one as the two teams, at a quick glance, seem to be of even caliber. The Panthers bested Hobbton in 2017 with a 48-0 win over the Wildcats. A big loss last season, coupled with last weeks win, should fuel Salas and the Wildcats and make them hungry for another win tonight. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Be sure to see tomorrow’s edition for a full preview of the remaining teams that are set to play Friday, including Union at Pender, Clinton vs Northside-Jacksonville, Midway vs West Bladen and the Game of the Week featuring Harrells Christian Academy vs Rocky Mount Preparatory.
Lakewood’s Jahdon Smith battles for more yards against Hobbton during the jamboree earlier this month. Both teams will be in action Thursday, eyeing another win.’s Jahdon Smith battles for more yards against Hobbton during the jamboree earlier this month. Both teams will be in action Thursday, eyeing another win.
Hobbton, Lakewood look to keep streaks alive Thursday

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Editor

Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at