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North's perfect

Hubs defeat Rebels 41-0 to end season unbeaten

Hubs defeat Rebels 41-0 to end season unbeaten

November 08, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Red and green were the colors in this battle of North versus South.

Red-painted faces cheering for the North Hagerstown High School Hubs were a common sight on the visitors' side of the field, while fans clad in green made their Rebels of South Hagerstown High School feel at home on the opposite side.

The teams went head-to-head for the 47th time in Friday night's Hagerstown Gridiron Classic at a packed School Stadium. The Hubs, hoping to finish the regular season at 10-0, did so easily by shutting out the Rebels 41-0.

"This is history in the making," North High Principal Robert "Bo" Myers said as he stood along the Hubs' sideline in the third quarter.

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A city school hasn't gone undefeated in the regular season since the Rebels did it in 1962. The Hubs also became the first county school to complete a season without a loss since the 1995 St. James team.

"It's been a long time coming," said Craig "Uncle Gil" Gilbert of Halfway.

Gilbert, also known as "Uncle Hub" and "Old Mister Hubcap," attends all North High football games in red and white face paint, a red bandana on his head, a white sweatshirt autographed by all the players and cheerleaders and a hubcap hanging around his neck to help pump up the crowd.

Gilbert, nephew of senior John Kline of the Hubs, said he goes to the games to energize the crowd. He's often seen banging a spoon off the hubcap and leading crowd cheers.

"It takes some idiot like me to get them fired up," Gilbert said.

With a just over six minutes to go in the third quarter and the Hubs leading 34-0, Gilbert didn't stop the cheers. He was in the stands with his fist in the air yelling, "De-fense! De-fense!"

Hagerstown Mayor William Breichner, wearing a green V-neck sweater with a red collared shirt underneath, didn't have a favorite team Friday night.

"I have to stay neutral," Breichner said. "I root for two schools - two great schools."

Breichner said he was impressed with the size of the crowd, which Myers estimated to be more than 5,000 fans.

"This is the largest crowd I've ever seen at this game," Breichner said. "I think that brings out the best in the players - when they're able to play before a full house."

Breichner said the city of Hagerstown promoted the game heavily in radio and television advertisements. The city also bought pins for both schools and sponsored the championship trophy, he said.

Many of the Rebels' fans stayed through the game, while others decided to head out in the fourth quarter.

"We're losing," said 15-year old South High student Ieshia Hylton.

"I expected it to be a good game," said her friend, Mikala Cole, also a 15-year-old student from South High.

Ieshia said her hopes died just moments after the game began, when Leon Finley took the opening kickoff down the field for a touchdown.

"When he scored 13 seconds into the game, I wasn't expecting it to be a good game," Ieshia said.

Myers said the atmosphere at North High was businesslike during the day, as he wanted the students to stay focused on their studies.

"We didn't over hype it," Myers said.

He said the school will hold a pep rally next week to set the tone for the playoffs.

"It's certainly been exciting, and it's certainly been good for the school," Myers said.

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