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North-South rivalry heats up

November 10, 2000|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

North-South rivalry heats up



Crowds braved a biting wind and chilly night air Friday to watch the 44th annual battle for high school football bragging rights in Hagerstown.

The North-South rivalry typically draws a crowd. But some in attendance said there seemed to be more fans in the stands this year to witness what would either be a possible step toward the playoffs for the South High Rebels or the first winning season since 1991 for the North High Hubs.

North High won 7-6.

Rodney Martin, 34, a 1984 South High graduate, was attending his first North-South game in 10 years Friday night.

"(I'm here) because the team has a chance to make the playoffs. Plus it's the North-South game," said Martin, who now lives in Cumberland, Md.

Randy Baechtel, 43, of Hagerstown, has watched every North-South football game of the past 12 years.

He said Friday's game was "a little more interesting" because of the possible playoff implications for South High, his alma mater.

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"The crowd is a little bigger because of the meaning of the game. But it's good to see any of the county teams playing for anything," Baechtel said.

No official crowd estimate was available, but thousands of fans packed the bleachers on both sides of the field. There was a line of fans still waiting to get into the game at the end of the first quarter.

Game time temperature was in the 40s, and there was a strong wind throughout most of the game.

"If it wouldn't be so windy it would be normal," said Terri Zimmerman, 43, of Hagerstown.

Zimmerman was sitting with her daughter, Amanda, a 1998 North High graduate who was at the game to watch some of the people she still knows in the band and on the team.

Lennie McCarney, 47, said he hasn't missed a North-South game since his freshman year at North High.

For McCarney, the annual contest is all about the rivalry.

"You can throw out the record books when it comes to this game because it doesn't matter. It's always a big game," said McCarney, who now lives in Smithsburg.

Melissa Wynn, 16, a junior at South High, said, "It's a big game because we're playing our rival."

Lewis "Skip" Jackson, 19, a South High football player last year, said, "We got beat up pretty bad last year, which makes this year more important. Plus the playoffs."

Going into Friday night's game, a win by South High combined with a loss by one of two other teams would have gained them entry into the Class 1A state football tournament.

The loss eliminated South High from playoff contention, and left them one game ahead in the long-standing cross-town rivalry 22-21-1.

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