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North-South game 'means everything' to Rebels

November 08, 2007|By TIM KOELBLE

For many South Hagerstown football players, Friday's game at North Hagerstown will be the final opportunity to beat their rivals.

For some, it will be the only opportunity to play on artificial turf, For many - like senior Eric Phillips - it will most likely be the last football game they ever play.

"In a nutshell, this game means everything to me," said Phillips.

Phillips and his teammates have yet to taste victory against North Hagerstown. The Rebels last won the city brawl in 2002, and they'd like nothing better than a win in the 51st edition of the rivalry, and the first to be played at Mike Callas Stadium.

"I've lived in Hagerstown my whole life and we always went to the game as a family growing up," said Rebels quarterback Wes Samples. "I've played football since I was six and it's always been a goal of mine to play in this game."

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Phillips and Samples are two of the South seniors providing team leadership. Coach Greg Kellick would have liked to see more of each player.

Phillips, who has rushed for a team-leading 330 yards, missed three games earlier this year. Samples is playing his first full year, having endured two knee operations that curtailed most of his activities over the past two years.

"We had players fill in admirably when (Eric) was hurt, but Eric has the ability to (break) tackles," said Kellick. "He's the slide-and-glide type of runner. Where others have power, when he runs he finds extra yardage. When he was hurt we missed his leadership."

Kellick said Samples started nailing down the quarterback position with an excellent scrimmage in the preseason against Francis Scott Key.

"I love the kid to death," said Kellick. "He hurt his knee as a sophomore and learned a lot last year. This year we didn't even know what he would do. After the FSK scrimmage he just started to take control of the offense. I'd like to have him another year."

Samples, who also handles the punting duties, has completed 45 passes, 10 for touchdowns. On the downside, he has thrown 16 interceptions.

"It's a must-win for us," said the 5-foot-8 Phillips. "It will be special if we could win. It would be something you would remember the rest of your life and it would rejuvenate this program. I might even cry."

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