Welcome to Week 8, football fans! Action is heating up across the area as the football season begins to shift into the heart of the schedule. Some big games are expected over the coming weeks but there’s a couple intriguing ones tonight. Due to the threat of Tropical Storm Michael, Midway and Wallace-Rose Hill have already played their game this week (see related story). In short summary, the Bulldogs really displayed that they’re once again a force to be reckoned with.
As for the other games this week, let’s dive right in!
Hobbton @ Princeton
After winning two straight games, the Wildcats were dealt quite a blow last week with a 35-0 loss to Rosewood. Their opponent this week isn’t any easier as they now are faced with another tough matchup against undefeated Princeton. The Bulldogs dismantled Union last week when they proved unstoppable in a 61-18 victory over the Spartans. Honestly, I place the Wildcats and the Spartans to be of similar caliber so I think it’s fair to say that another Princeton win by a similar margin is entirely possible. This isn’t a knock on Hobbton. They’ve already proved to be well improved but Princeton is a great team that has dominated their opponents offensively throughout the season. Comparing apples to apples, North Johnston has played the Bulldogs the closest, coming up just short in a 38-32 loss. That same Panthers team defeated the Wildcats 42-8. At a glance, it looks like the Wildcats could be in for a long night. Game time at Princeton is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Union @ North Duplin
Both of these teams enter the contest hungry for a win after they were dealt losses last week. For the Rebels, they let a gritty game against Lakewood slip away as they fell 21-7 in an otherwise tight game. For the Spartans, as mentioned above, they suffered a big loss at the hands of Princeton, 61-18. Union hung around in that game and had their opportunities to keep it close but the Spartans failed to make the plays at the most crucial of times to do just that. Using their strong running game, Princeton pulled away to deal the fatal blow. Union enters the contest riding a two game losing streak and is desperate for a win to get their season back on track. Unfortunately for them, North Duplin should prove to be a formidable test. The Spartans have the playmakers to make the contest interesting for sure. The question is, will they be able to do it? Game time at North Duplin is set for 7 p.m.
Clinton @ Goldsboro
Since losing their opener to Cape Fear, Clinton has returned to their winning ways as they enter this contest on a three-game winning streak and are coming off a 50-8 shellacking of Midway. The Dark Horses record currently sits at 3-1 overall. For Goldsboro, the Cougars are bringing a 3-3 overall record into the contest and are celebrating Homecoming. This matchup seems to be one of the more intriguing matchups of the night as all three of Goldsboro’s losses have certainly been close. The Cougars could certainly give the Dark Horses quite the fight, especially with the emotions of the night and a possibly large crowd all working in favor of them. Clinton, though, has been getting better and better. Where they stand, exactly, will be revealed tonight. Game time at Goldsboro is set for 7 p.m.
Harrells Christian vs North Wake
In the only game taking place inside Sampson County, the Harrells Crusaders seem to have a tremendous test coming up against the undefeated Saints of North Wake. Harrells has had a pretty solid season so far, entering this contest with a 3-2 record, including two straight wins. They certainly have some respectable weapons on their team. North Wake, however, has a pretty intimidating track record. In their five victories so far on the season, the Saints have yet to give up a single point. To further complicate the situation, they are also a high scoring team averaging 44 points per game. It’s certainly safe to say that the Crusaders will have little room for error on Friday night. Can they beat the first team to crack the scoreboard against the Saints? Can they upset the Saints? Game time at Harrells is set for 7 p.m.
Lakewood @ Rosewood (Game of the Week)
In this week’s Dubose Strapping Game of the Week, the undefeated Lakewood Leopards carry their 5-0 record up to Rosewood to take on the 4-1 Eagles. Since losing their opener to 3A C.B Aycock, Rosewood has mounted a four game win streak to set up this week’s big conference matchup. A look across their respective schedules, the two teams seem to be an even matchup. The two schools have a common opponent in Pender, as both defeated the Patriots rather soundly earlier in the season: Rosewood won 51-0, the Leopards won 47-6. Lakewood head coach Barrett Sloan knows what’s at stake and acknowledges that the Eagles are going to be tough. “This is going to be a battle between two good teams,” said Sloan. “Rosewood is a great team and we have to be ready to match their pace and physicality.”
With conference position on the line and what could shape up other important matches going forward, both teams will be battling for a big win. Game time at Rosewood is set for 7 p.m.
Catch the full rundown and coaches’ reactions from our Game of the Week between Rosewood and Lakewood in this weekend’s edition, along with a quick recap of all area games. Full stories from the rest of the slate will come on Tuesday.
Reach Sports Editor Daron Barefoot at [email protected]