Memories in the stands add to nostalgic football game

November 11, 2006|by DON AINES

HAGERSTOWN - Under the glare of Friday night lights, teams in crimson and green warmed up on the gridiron as fans of the North Hagerstown High School Hubs and South Hagerstown High School Rebels filtered into the stands to watch the rubber match of the half-century high school football rivalry.

It has been a seesaw battle for football supremacy since that first game in 1957, when the teams played to a 6-6 tie. At 24 wins apiece, Friday night's game would settle bragging rights for the first 50 years.

Sitting in the South High stands before the game was Mike Gerberich, who looked like he played some ball.

"I played for North," said Gerberich, a lineman in the late 1990s. "I'm waiting for my father. He played for South."

"We stunk. We were dead last," Gerberich said of his seasons with the Hubs. His father Terry's Rebels had been enjoying three-victory advantage in the series, but Hub wins the last three seasons had evened the series.


"I can already tell you whose going to win," Gerberich said. "North."

The Hubs did win Friday night, shutting out the Rebels, 44-0

Across the field standing in line for burgers, dogs and fries was Randy Mills, sporting a red Hubs shirt.

"I have to wear this because my daughter goes to North, but I graduated from South High," Mills said of his divided loyalty. "I think North High might have a better team this year, but it should still be a good game. You can never overlook heart."

In the South bleachers, Bob Beck said he has been coming to these games for decades, his son, John, having quarterbacked the Rebels in the 1960s.

"That's when we whipped North High," Beck said. His son was recruited by Bobby Ross, now the coach at Army, to play for William & Mary, then coached by Lou Holtz, he said.

James Bussard and his son, Jeff, have been watching these games for decades as well, Jeff's sons, Jarred and Josh, both played for the Rebels. James Bussard said he would be traveling to Waynesburg (Pa.) College today to watch Jarred play college football.

David Miller and Daniel Fox have more recent memories of the biggest game of the season. Miller was a wide receiver and Fox a center on the 2003 North team that finished the regular season undefeated with a 41-0 pasting of the Rebels, sweet revenge for the 39-0 shellacking they suffered in 2002.

"It's the same situation. North is headed for the playoffs and South is trying to knock them off," Fox said. Even if both teams had bad seasons, the traditional North-South game was "like the state championship," he said.

"If we beat South, we considered it a winning season," Miller said.

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