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Hubs crack state Top 25

October 29, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

Sometimes, respect is a long time coming.

In what is shaping up as the finest football season in North Hagerstown High School's 48-year history, the Hubs are receiving some notice across the state of Maryland with their first appearance in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.

The Hubs (8-0) took the 25th spot in the poll this week, giving Washington County its first representative in the poll since 1994.

"I'm really glad to see the kids get some recognition," North coach Danny Cunningham said. "They've worked extremely hard this year. I'm so happy for them."

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It's just the third time Washington County has placed a team in the state rankings. Boonsboro (1993) and Smithsburg (1994) each made the final poll of their last state championship season.

The poll ranked the top 20 teams in the state from 1990-2000 and expanded to a top 25 poll in 2001. Twelve sportswriters from around the state vote in the poll each week.

North also took over the top spot in the Class 2A West playoff standings. The Hubs' 26-6 win over Francis Scott Key coupled with Fort Hill's 41-2 loss to Martinsburg resulted in the move.

"It's really too early right now," Cunningham said. "Smithsburg poses a big threat this week. We haven't even begun talking about playoffs yet."

The top four teams in each region qualify for the postseason, with the No. 4 seed playing at No. 1 and the No. 3 seed playing at No. 2 in the first round.

South Carroll is currently in the second position, followed by Fort Hill and Walkersville.

The Hubs are trying to clinch their first postseason berth since 1990, the only other year that North advanced to the playoffs.

"People talk about that 1990 team or the 1972 team being one of the best to come out of North," Cunningham said. "I think this one potentially could be the best. The sky's the limit for these guys."

In Class 1A West, Catoctin holds the top seed, followed by Beall, Allegany and Smithsburg. Hancock dropped from fourth to fifth after losing to St. Vincent Pallotti on Friday.

Smithsburg is after its first postseason bid since it won the 1994 Class 1A title. Hancock has not made the playoffs since 1986.

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