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Anthing goes when Hubs, Rebels meet

November 08, 2002|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

Week 10 of the football season isn't the time to make changes to an offensive scheme, is it?

Don't tell that to North Hagerstown coach Danny Cunningham.

Cunningham seems prepared to pull out all the stops tonight when the Hubs "play host" to South Hagerstown at School Stadium in the Hagerstown Gridiron Championship Classic.

"You want the truth, huh?" Cunningham said, trying not to tip his hand too much. "We are going to do some no-huddle stuff, try to keep them on their toes a little bit."

While Cunningham admitted the Hubs (2-7) will show a few new wrinkles offensively, he doesn't expect to stray too much from the game plan he has employed all season - run the football.

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With a speed back like Bobby Waugh, a power runner like Derrick Keith and a mobile quarterback in Quielan Gantt, Cunningham has plenty of options.

"We're going to go at them and run the ball," Cunningham said. "With backs like Bobby and Derrick, it's kind of the best of both worlds."

Of course, by running the ball the Hubs will be playing right to South's biggest strength defensively - stopping the run. In their six wins this season, the Rebels (6-3) have effectively shut down their opponent's running game.

"We said all along that our defense was going to be good," said South coach Greg Kellick. "Our defense has been solid all year and the offense is getting the job done. We'll take the odds that if we can control the ball offensively, our defense is going to do its job."

Cunningham said the South defense has more than done its job this season.

"They're strong, they're quick, they tackle well ... they're unbelievable," Cunningham said. "It all starts with (nose tackle) Clayton Swisher. He sets the tone early. If you don't control the 'A' gap, he'll have a big game on you."

Offensively, the Rebels will also stay the course they've traveled all season, with quarterback David Miner handing off to a stable full of running backs and occasionally firing the ball downfield.

"The offense is playing more as a unit this year, there's no real superstar," Kellick said. "We said going in we weren't going to rely on one back and we haven't. We're going to try to do the same on Friday."

The numbers back up Kellick's claim. Mike Campbell leads the Rebels in rushing with 537 yards. But three other players - Jamel Smith, Adam Wray and Miner - have rushed for more than 200 yards.

With South a virtual lock for its first playoff berth, Kellick finds himself in the unique position of having to plan for something other than collecting uniforms the week after the North-South game.

"The kids realize they've got to win this one, but we really didn't practice for North this week," Kellick said. "We put some things in that we won't show in the North game, some things that are more for the following weeks."

That shouldn't be perceived as the Rebels looking past this week's opponent.

"Our goal was seven wins and getting in the playoffs," Kellick said. "We're continuing to work toward that goal. Hopefully things will fall into place."

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