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Right now is for the future for North

November 06, 2008|By TIM KOELBLE

There is no playoff game ahead - only a look to the future.

For a second straight year, uniforms will be collected after Friday's Hagerstown Gridiron Championship Classic when North Hagerstown battles South Hagerstown at School Stadium.

"This is our Super Bowl," said North coach Dan Cunningham.

The Hubs (2-7) hope to ride the coattails of last week's 31-29 victory over Frederick on Chase Worthington's game-winning field goal at North's Mike Callas Stadium.

"It was an emotional night, especially for the seniors playing for the last time on such a nice field," said Cunningham.

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Now, North is focused on extending its winning streak in the city series to six straight games. The Hubs defeated the Rebels 27-20 last year.

For North, this 2008 finale could be a look to the future. Due to injuries, the Hubs will start several freshmen and sophomores.

"We've struggled gaining consistency," said Cunningham. "We've got a freshman starting at left tackle and right guard, sophomores at center and right tackle. We're still depleted. Injuries have been a hindrance."

Among those stepping into the line of fire has been sophomore quarterback Steve Coccodrilli, who got the call when Bryan Callendine went down with a season-ending ankle injury.

"I was both nervous and excited when I got the call," said Coccodrilli. "The game is so much faster on the varsity, to get adjusted to the speed and different formations."

Coccodrilli, who has thrown for 850 yards and 11 touchdowns since taking over in Week 4 against Liberty, said losing Callendine was a "heartbreaker to the team."

"(Coccodrilli) has become a leader and you see much of the same in him as in Callendine," said Cunningham. "He has become a more vocal leader."

Even though the young Hubs have only two wins, Cunningham is looking on the bright side.

"We're getting better," he said. "You're not happy with losing but we're building. I'm pleased with the efforts."

The Hubs have not been able to use the quickness of often-injured Alec Nelson, who has only been able to carry the football 24 times in the last three games.

A.J. Staley and Demetrius Myers have gotten the bulk of the work, and another sophomore - Anthony Winters - has been a contributing factor on the end of Coccodrilli's passes.

"It's been a good sophomore year to be able to help out," said Winters. "I think we're a better team than we look on paper. I just want to help us get the trophy again."

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