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South wins city title

Rebels take first Gridiron Championship Classic

Rebels take first Gridiron Championship Classic

November 11, 2002|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - It wasn't exactly the Super Bowl trophy - or a state championship trophy, for that matter - but the South Hagerstown High School football team made it work for one night.

The Rebels hoisted the Hagerstown Gridiron Championship Classic trophy over their heads and showed it off to cheering fans following their 39-0 victory over North Hagerstown at School Stadium on Friday.

While the Rebels were thrilled to win the intra-city game, the victory took on some extra meaning for the team - it earned South its first berth in the Maryland state football tournament.

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"Everybody's really happy because we're part of history now," said South running back Jamel Smith. "This was one of our goals at the beginning of the season."

South will be either the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the Class 1A bracket of the tournament and will play its first playoff game on the road next weekend. The playoff bracket will be finalized by the state Sunday.

The Championship Classic trophy, which was presented by Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner, was part of a new emphasis the city is placing on the North-South game.

K&R Engraving donated the trophy, which will be housed at the winning school, and the city donated plaques to each school to showcase the name of the team's most valuable player of the Championship Classic game.

The city also put up posters promoting the game in the schools and local businesses.

The extra push seemed to help the attendance for a game that has played to dwindling crowds over the last 10 years. Friday's crowd was estimated from 4,500 to 5,500.

"I looked over at their side when we came out after halftime and there were a lot of people up there," South coach Greg Kellick said. "I looked back at our side and it was filled and there were a lot of people standing at the fences, the way everybody says it used to be."

North coach Danny Cunningham, who played at North in the early 1990s, was happy to see a larger crowd on hand.

"This is good for the city schools. They need the support of the community," Cunningham said. "It would be nice if they give South the same support when they play in the playoffs."

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