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Smaller crowds do not diminish North-South game

November 06, 1998|By MARK KELLER

Glenn Cross and Greg Kellick can throw out lots of reasons why they think attendance has dropped at the North-South football game in recent years.

They can recite them all - from students working to bad weather to losing records.

But then after they give you those reasons, they'll both tell you the same thing: "It's still North-South."

"The game has lost some of its appeal over the years - it used to be the only game in town. But the rivalry is still there," said Cross, the North Hagerstown coach. "The excitement's in the air. We've got a staff filled with North grads. They're excited about the game and that filters through to the kids."

As has been the case the last seven meetings, the teams will be playing mostly for pride. The last time both teams entered the season-ending game with a winning record was 1990. North won that game and made its only playoff appearance.

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"The fact that it's at the very end is nice, because you can end your season on an up note by winning this game," said Kellick. "If we played this game the first or second week of the season, then do what we did this year ... it doesn't give you much to look forward to."

The players have been looking forward to this game all week. But because of a short school week, all those pep assemblies and bonfires had to be jammed into two days.

Still, the coaches say it takes very little to get their players psyched up for North-South.

"Back in August, when we started practice, we had people saying, 'I don't care, as long as you beat North,'" Kellick said.

"It's about all either of us have left," Cross said. "Hopefully, they'll be inspired and motivated, but real motivation comes from within. You hope that one saying, one cliche makes a kid stick it all out there on the field."

For North (2-7), there's a little more incentive. The Hubs haven't beaten South (1-8) since 1992, and they've scored just six points in those last five meetings.

"There's some pride in being the best in the city," Cross said. "Then there's the idea that we haven't won this thing in five years. We gotta get that changed.

"To me, that's gotta get the kids more excited than anything," Cross added.

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