Updated: Aug 9, 2022
WOODBURY - Teddy Lockhart III knows a thing or two about leadership.
The four-year member of the Woodbury High School football program is the only player from the 2018 varsity team that is still on the roster. The Thundering Herd posted a 6-4 record in 2018 and started the campaign with three consecutive victories. With Lockhart III still lowering his shoulder and bulldozing through the opposition, the Thundering Herd opened the 2021 campaign with a 3-0 record for the first time since his freshman year.
Woodbury defeated Florence 49-0 on Saturday afternoon in a West Jersey Football League Patriot Division matchup. Lockhart III eclipsed the century mark in rushing yards for the fourth consecutive game dating back to last season and scored two touchdowns.
The football field isn’t the only place Lockhart III finds himself making an impact. The senior’s ability to lead dates back to his middle school days.
“I’ve been Class President since my eighth grade year,” Lockhart III said. “It’s definitely been a great thing. I get to inspire other kids who want to be like me and also teammates, too. Just showing them that it’s not all about sports. Being a student athlete, you can excel on the football field and become a top-notch player, (but you can also) do it in the classroom and be the best at what you do.”
Those around him have felt his impact.
“Teddy has just been the consummate pro for our program since Day One,” Woodbury coach Anthony Reagan said. “He came in and just bought into everything that we asked him to do. He’s always looking out for his teammates, he works hard, he just gives you everything he has. And that, to me, is just the ultimate winner and that’s what Teddy is and that’s what he brings to this team.”
Lockhart III’s leadership qualities also stem from his experience as a Woodbury City Public School District Board of Education student representative. The senior effectively communicates with students to better understand current issues and concerns among the student body. Classmates also present ideas and suggestions to Lockhart III for him to relay to the board of education.
“I go around and talk to different students,” Lockhart III explained. “How they feel about the schools, policy, what’s going on in the classroom, what they’d like to change. Then I do a report and take it to the Board. I discuss with them things that we think we should change for students.”
Lockhart III’s busy schedule doesn’t end there.
The standout Woodbury running back also serves as a student ambassador for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Lockhart III, along with students from other schools, meet with NJSIAA Executive Director Colleen Maguire once a month to discuss various topics.
“We just talk about the different things that’s going on in high school sports,” Lockhart III said. “We did a lot during the COVID season. We’re just all athletes coming together just trying to change a lot that’s going on within the sports realm.”
The Woodbury senior prepared himself for these off-the-field opportunities by participating in American Legion Jersey Boys State at Rider University. The experience sparked an increased interest in politics for Lockhart III.
“I’m definitely looking into doing business and politics,” Lockhart III said. “I actually did a New Jersey Boys State camp up at Rider. That was a lot of politics. It kind of interests me more, doing that camp.”
Just as he does on the football field, Lockhart III aims to surpass expectations in the classroom. The senior plans to apply to a handful of Ivy League institutions and continue to lead in other facets of life. He has already applied to a few colleges.
“I’m actually applying at Bryant University and Southern Connecticut,” Lockhart III said. “Also, I’m trying to strive high, so I do want to try and apply to some of the Ivys like Brown, Yale, or something like that. I don’t know exactly what I want to major in, but I know business, politics, (something) around that aspect. I want to be involved and be able to work for myself.”
Lockhart III wasn’t the only one around for the Thundering Herd’s last 3-0 start in 2018. Reagan was in his first year as the program’s head coach. Three years later, Woodbury has championship aspirations. The Thundering Herd are currently in the driver’s seat in the WJFL Patriot Division and are on pace to host a home playoff game.
Woodbury coach Anthony Reagan talks to his team following a 49-0 win over Florence on Saturday, September 11, 2021 in Woodbury, New Jersey. Kevin Emmons/Photojournalist
“Our biggest thing is that it’s just a new 0-0 week,” Reagan said. “The next opponent had no effect on our record. We just look at it as a new championship game each week. So that just keeps our focus throughout the season knowing that the next opponent has no bearing on what we did prior.”
The fourth-year coach couldn’t be more thankful to be in this position with the very same group that he has developed for the past four seasons.
“The biggest thing is that they were able to see the fruits of their labor,” Reagan said. “Sometimes we have the vision, but when there are dark days, you don’t know how it’s gonna go. But they always believe and I appreciate them for that. I love seeing them enjoy themselves, having fun, having success. We talk about greatness and they are just embodying that day in and day out. As a coach, I just enjoy them being successful. I’m excited for them.”