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Rebels relaxed as semis near

November 21, 2002|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

While continuing their trip into uncharted territories, the South Hagerstown football team couldn't be more loose.

In fact, the Rebels players are trying to get coach Greg Kellick to loosen up a little, too.

Kellick's not having any of that, at least not yet.

"When you play, you get that first hit and the butterflies go away," Kellick said. "As a coach, they never go away. So when they tell me to relax, I tell them I will when the clock says zero-zero-zero, fourth quarter. That's when I'll relax."

There won't be much leisure time this week for the Rebels as they prepare for their Class 1A semifinal matchup at Beall on Friday. Still, Kellick doesn't want his players to tighten up.

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"I think the tightest we were all year was our first game of the year (a 27-6 loss to DuVal)," Kellick said. "We talked about needing seven wins to get into the playoffs and we wanted to schedule a game that we thought we had a chance to win. I think part of the reason we lost that game because we were so tight."

The Rebels (8-3) had no such trouble Saturday. They waltzed into Baltimore, stepped onto the field at Polytechnic and flat out whipped Dunbar, the No. 2 seed in the 1A playoffs and one of the more storied programs in the state.

There were no jitters and no nerves - just the desire to play some playoff football and get out of town with a win.

The Mountaineers (8-2) could give the South defense problems with a look they have not seen this year. Beall runs the wishbone offense, which features three running backs and the quarterback.

"(Former head coach) Bill Patterson put that in in 1992. I took over in 1994 and I was sold on it," said Beall coach Roy DeVore. "We can use a lot of different backs in it. If the quarterback can fake well and things click right, it can be an explosive offense."

Kellick said his defense will have its work cut out for it in learning to play against the wishbone. At the same time, he's confident that the Rebels, who have given up an average of just 10 points per game this year, can make the adjustments needed to slow down the Mountaineers.

"The whole thing is right there in front of us," Kellick said. "We're preparing for this like we would a North-South week. We shouldn't have to say a whole lot to get them fired up. The chance to play (at Ravens Stadium) should be incentive enough."

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