Gridiron Preview: Week 4

By Daron Barefoot - Sports Editor
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Welcome to Week 4, Sampson County football fans! The action is heating up as we move deeper into the season and this week features a couple big games, including what should be an exciting “Game of the Week” between Midway and Lakewood, sponsored by Dubose Strapping. Other games include Union hosting Heide Trask, Hobbton hosting Spring Creek and Harrells hosting Village Christian Academy. Clinton is on the first of their two bye weeks this week and will return to action next Friday.

Now, let’s dive right in and take a look at tonight’s games.

Harrells vs Village Christian

The Crusaders stormed into the win column last week after a blistering 61-8 victory over Rocky Mount Preparatory. At the conclusion of that game, head coach Jason Arnette was already looking ahead to tonight’s matchup against the Knights, and with good reason. Village Christian enters tonight’s contest with a 2-0 record and both wins were a pair of shellackings: 70-7 over Dillion Christian in Week 2 and 62-6 over Concord First Assembly Academy in Week 3. Adding to the mix is the fact that the Knights shut out the Crusaders in 2017 with a 26-0 win. This year, though, Arnette is confident that his team can compete as they have already displayed a high-powered offense with several different offensive weapons. Can the Crusaders make it two straight wins or will Village Christian continue their winning ways and go 3-0? We’ll find out tonight! Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Union vs Heide Trask

The Union Spartans have won two straight games and look to go for three straight tonight when they host Heide Trask. Union has definitely had their work cut out for them in all first three games and despite Trask being 0-3 on the young season, the Spartans should expect another fight tonight. With each passing game, the Titans have become a little more competitive, especially in Week 2 when Lakewood just did beat Trask, 14-6. Tonight’s game should be a fun one down at Union as both teams have good reasons to battle for the win: Union looking to continue improve their resume and Trask seeking that first win. Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Hobbton vs Spring Creek

Another intriguing matchup tonight will be taking place over in Newton Grove when Spring Creek pays Hobbton a visit. Both teams sport a 1-2 record on the season and will be seeking to get to .500 with a win tonight. For Hobbton, they got a big win a couple weeks ago against Chatham Central, but couldn’t follow it up with their first home game against North Johnston. Spring Creek’s season follows in similar fashion, with a win sandwiched between two losses. North Duplin bested the Gators in Week 1, 42-14, and Rosewood defeated them last week, 45-0. Spring Creek’s victory came at Lejeune in Week 2, 45-14. Last season, Spring Creek bested Hobbton, 36-14. Who will come out on top in tonight’s matchup? Can Hobbton pick up their second win or will it be Spring Creek that takes home the victory? Game time is set for 7 p.m.

Lakewood vs Midway (Game of the Week)

In Week 4’s Game of the Week sponsored by Dubose Strapping, the Midway Raiders are set to make the short drive down Highway 242 to take on Lakewood. The Leopards bring a 3-0 record into the contest while the Raiders are 2-1. Lakewood has certainly had Midway’s number the past two seasons, posting big wins in 2017 (35-0) and 2016 (41-14). Before that, however, Midway posted two wins in 2015 and 2014, albeit by narrow margins. Tonight’s matchup is a game full of changes and there’s plenty of key factors to look at coming in. For starters, both teams sport coaching changes from last season while Lakewood has also had to adjust from losing 15 seniors, including key losses on the defensive side of the ball. So far, though, this transition process has been kind to the Leopards as Lakewood enters their home opener unscathed, which sets up factor number two — tonight being Lakewood’s first home game of the season. The third factor is new Lakewood head coach Barrett Sloan, assisted by father Tommy, now going head-to-head against a program where they spent large parts of their lives. While much may not be said about it, the Sloans vs Midway still has to make things interesting for sure. Both coaches, though, have remained business as usual in their approach to the game:

Cory Barnes, Midway: “We are county rivals so I expect a hard fought game on both sides. We are polar opposites when it comes to style of play so I think it will make for an interesting game.”

Barrett Sloan, Lakewood: “This should be a great game. We have challenged our guys all week to compete. We are also excited to finally have a home game. We look forward to facing this tough Raider team.”

This should be great battle indeed. Midway has proven they are capable of putting up points and their offense the past two weeks has been sensational. The Raiders, though, have had some defensive struggles, allowing Princeton to score 50 points and West Bladen to tally 32. Can Midway’s defense step up and halt the offensive weapons from Lakewood? Likewise, can Lakewood’s defense hold Midway at bay? Or, will this turn into a high-scoring affair that goes down to the wire?

We’ll find out tonight! Game time is 7 p.m.

Be sure to check out a full rundown in this weekend’s edition from Midway and Lakewood, as well as reactions from coaches and players. We’ll also recap all other area games from tonight with full rundowns in Tuesday’s edition.

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Leopards, Raiders tangle in Game of the Week

By Daron Barefoot

Sports Editor