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Tough losses have Rebels ready

November 18, 2002|BY MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - South Hagerstown football coach Greg Kellick doesn't like to dwell on what could have been.

If not for two failed two-point conversions, the Rebels could have been 9-1 this season. They could have been the top seed in the Maryland Class 1A playoffs. They could have been the Monocacy Valley Athletic League champions.

No, Kellick chooses not to look at things that way. He's taken the two one-point losses the Rebels have suffered this season - to Catoctin and Middletown - and used them as building blocks for the school's first-ever playoff game today against Dunbar.

"You always build on a loss. Nobody likes to lose, but a team builds character after a loss," Kellick said. "And if you're a good team, you bounce back after a loss."

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South (7-3) did bounce back after its losses this season, scoring 28-, 31- and 39-point wins in the games following their defeats. Still, Kellick points to what South accomplished in those two one-point losses - particularly the thriller two weeks ago against Middletown - as vital elements to a successful playoff run.

"Against Middletown, we fought hard, came back and still lost. That left a bad taste in their mouths," Kellick said. "We were no longer leading the West region, we were no longer leading the MVAL. The question to them was, 'Do you want this at the end of the season.'" And the answer is no, they don't.

"So, you look at all the little things that you did in those games and you make sure that you don't do them again."

Kellick said the things South learned in those losses - that they can score quickly if necessary, that their defense can make a stand if necessary and that they can hold their own with any opponent - will not only build character, but confidence, too.

"I think sometimes, had we gone into the playoffs 9-1, I don't know how we would have handled it," Kellick said. "We might have gone in there thinking we could walk over anyone.

"Playing the game we did against Middletown, I think some people might be concerned about us. Anyone that's followed us knows that we can play."

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