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Hagerstown firefighters show support for Terrapins

January 03, 2002

Hagerstown firefighters show support for Terrapins



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI
kimy@herald-mail.com


There weren't many longtime University of Maryland fans at the Antietam Fire Hall Wednesday night but at the Orange Bowl kickoff just about everybody there was wearing red and white.

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A combination of about 12 paid, volunteer and prospective volunteers gathered at the Summit Street station for the fire company's monthly meeting, which was followed by a pizza party and the bowl game.

The Terrapins battled Florida in a game that is part of college football's Bowl Championship Series.

Antietam Fire Co. Captain Jim Sprecher said his heart is with the San Francisco 49ers but he wanted the Terps to take home the Orange Bowl title.

"It's an exciting game," he said.

The pizza/football party was more about bonding and family than football, he said.

"It's a camaraderie thing," said Sprecher who whose son, son-in-law and nephew were at the fire hall watching the game.

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The fire company often hosts similar parties for other sports events, especially wrestling, he said.

The firefighters pulled up chairs, some of them plush loungers, to a big-screen television to watch the underdog Terps take on the Gators.

"If you're a real big Maryland fan you're at the game," volunteer firefighter Chuck Cunningham said.

Prospective firefighter Corneilius McKinney, 23, of Hagerstown, turned out to watch the game with his friend, firefighter Dennis Shawyer. The two met while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Being from Texas, McKinney said he likes to support southern teams. On Wednesday, he was one of the few Florida fans at the fire station.

During the first half, McKinney predicted the game would be a close one.

"They (Florida) have a better defense and a stronger quarterback," he said.

Shawyer agreed that the Gators' defense was superior but said he thought the game would "come to whoever has the ball in the last minutes."

Like Sprecher, Maryland isn't Shawyer's favorite team but "if they're in the bowl game and you're from Maryland, you've got to root for the home team," he said.

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