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'This is our Super Bowl'

Hubs, Rebels throw records out, put everything into Gridiron Classic

Hubs, Rebels throw records out, put everything into Gridiron Classic

November 07, 2008|By MARK KELLER

By its way of thinking, the North Hagerstown football team hasn't had the Gridiron Classic trophy long enough.

South Hagerstown, on the other hand, has just plain had enough.

"We're saying now, 'It's our turn,'" South coach Greg Kellick said. "They've had the thing over there five years. Five years is enough. Now it's time to bring it back over and start the string over here."

The Rebels get their opportunity tonight when they play host to the Hubs at School Stadium in the 52nd meeting of Hagerstown's two high school football teams.

"It definitely is time to bring it back over to South High. Definitely," said South receiver Cory Shank.

North (2-7) has won the last five games in the series, and only last year's was close -- a 27-20 Hubs victory in the first city game played at Mike Callas Stadium. The Hubs won the previous four games by an average of 38 points.

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"We're real proud we've kept the last five here at North," Hubs coach Dan Cunningham said. "It goes without saying you don't have to get the kids too excited about this week. They do it themselves."

South (4-5) at least has some recent history on its side. The last time the team with the better record going into the season finale lost in the series was in 2000 -- when North beat South 7-6 to keep the Rebels out of the postseason.

There is no postseason at stake for either team this time around. The Rebels are trying to get to the .500 mark for the first time since 2004; the Hubs are trying to avoid their worst finish since a 2-8 mark in 2002.

"This is our Super Bowl. It's our state championship, it's our bowl game," Cunningham said. "There's nothing after Friday night. So, for the seniors, it's kind of a happy, sad moment."

Both teams have shown glimpses of what the future holds with sophomores -- and even some freshmen -- playing key roles and getting huge chunks of playing time.

North sophomore Anthony Winters, who transferred from Magruder, is 10 catches and 67 yards away from single-season school records. Another sophomore, quarterback Steve Coccodrilli, has thrown for 850 yards in six games since being called up from the JV squad.

The Hubs also start two freshmen and two sophomores on the offensive line.

South sophomore Nick Stubbs has rushed for 272 yards and three touchdowns in five games, while sophomore Hunter Phillips has thrown for 265 yards in his first three games as the varsity starter.

But the North-South game always seems to come down to the seniors, those grizzled veterans -- relatively -- who will be playing at the high school level for the final time.

"Beating North our senior year is a big deal," Shank said. "We win that, we get a .500 season with it."

"Seniors, in particular, will lay everything out that they have because they don't want to lose this game," Kellick said. "You can't come back and say, 'I've got next week' or 'I'll do it better next week.' ... There isn't anything like that. This is all. It's got to be done right now and it's got to be done the right way right now."

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