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His calling was to go South

Kellick's move to Hagerstown for work led straight to rivalry

Kellick's move to Hagerstown for work led straight to rivalry

November 08, 2006|by MARK KELLER

Greg Kellick wasn't born into the North Hagerstown-South Hagerstown football rivalry, though he's been a part of it for so long it might seem that way.

When Kellick leads this year's South squad onto the School Stadium field for the 50th meeting between the city schools, it will be his 29th straight year as an active member of the rivalry - his 19th game as head coach after 10 seasons as an assistant.

Not bad for someone who, at one time, didn't even know where Hagerstown was.

"It was a strange situation. I was a senior at Clarion and thinking I'd better get an interview for a teaching job," said Kellick, a native of Barnesboro, Pa. "I heard someone was coming from Washington County Schools to recruit. I just thought, 'I don't know where Hagerstown is, but I'd better give this a look.'"

Kellick said there was six inches of snow on the ground when he left Clarion for Washington County for his job interview, but it was a beautiful spring day when he arrived in Hagerstown, leading him to ask if the weather was always that way.

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"They told me, 'No, it's usually a lot warmer,'" Kellick said. "I said, 'Where do I sign?'"

Kellick has been a Washington County guy ever since. He taught at Woodland Way Elementary until the school was condemned, then moved to Funkstown Elementary. While there, he worked his way on to the football staff at South, beginning his long run with the Rebels and finding out exactly what the North-South rivalry was all about.

"It's really all about the kids. There's always an individual that stands out, someone that steps up. And a lot of times it's an unsung guy that does it," Kellick said. "Of course, I never remember the ones from the other side of town."

Given that the series record is deadlocked at 24-24-1 going into Friday's game, it's fair to say both sides have seen their fair share of standout performances and memorable moments.

"One of those moments was one of my first years, Darren Dattilio was a good-sized kid," Kellick said. "He was our quarterback and he ran a sneak late in the game when we needed a score. He didn't get in and we lost that game. I remember standing on the sideline watching that one.

"(James) Frisby had the 28-point game for us, (Dwayne) Freeman had a nice game as a senior. Joe Howell was a guy just up from the JV team who didn't plan on playing but caught the winning touchdown pass."

Kellick said North-South week is one of the easiest weeks he has as a coach, primarily because the kids are so focused on their opponent, their rival.

There's no need to give fire-and-brimstone speeches, because the game is inspirational enough in its own right.

"The kids are always there for it. We never have to tell them to pick it up," Kellick said. "It's one of the easiest weeks to go through because the kids respond to it 100 percent."

Kellick said he's seen just about everything in the North-South game over the years and he buys into the "throw out the records" theory when it comes to the city rivalry.

"The game itself is what matters, not the records of either team coming in," Kellick said. "I've been here when we were playing to get into the playoffs and I've been here when we've come in without a win. It doesn't matter.

"The bottom line is they're all special games because you lose those seniors. And it's special to every one of those kids that ever played in it."

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