North-South: Records mean nothing for city teams

November 05, 2009|By TIM KOELBLE

Dulaney Williams knows that everyone doubts the South Hagerstown football team.

Alex Wolters bleeds red and black and is ready to stamp his imprint.

Two of the seniors who will take to the Mike Callas Stadium turf on Friday in the 53rd renewal of the North-South football game are ready to end their prep careers on a positive note.

"It all comes down to this game," said Wolters, a senior two-way guard. "It's about giving everything you've got. I hope we come out with the same result as last year."

North prevailed 28-27 in overtime last year for its sixth straight win in the series, which the Hubs lead 27-24-1.

"Last year was a heartbreaking loss," said Williams, a flanker/cornerback for the Rebels who will be playing in his second Hagerstown Gridiron Classic. "We want to come out and prove our worth to people. Records are nothing."


Expectations during preseason were for better results than each school has produced to date. North owns the better record at 3-6; the Rebels have struggled to a 2-7 mark.

South senior Xavier Richardson, who missed last year's contest with an ACL injury, says the Rebels are better than their record indicates.

"We saw the mentality we could have in the win over Boonsboro," said the tailback who also doubles at linebacker. "If we'd have played like that all the time, we'd have had three or four more wins. Every time we made a mistake, our heads would go down."

After being smacked around by Middletown and Walkersville with little defense and plenty of mistakes, the Rebels played easily their best game of the year in a 21-0 win over the Warriors.

"Our record is not because the kids have lacked effort," said South coach Greg Kellick. "Things happen with 15-, 16-year-old kids not always being in the right spots."

North senior linebacker Greg Pheabus will make his third appearance in the city battle and expects to feel the nerves.

"I had butterflies my first varsity game and I still get them every Friday night," he said. "This is the game you have to win. You know all the boys from the other team and you see them on a daily basis. It's important."

North, however, must rebound after a 12-6 loss to Boonsboro last Friday, another game marred by turnovers and penalties.

"We just haven't met our expectations this year," said North coach Dan Cunningham. "We're still a young team, but at the same time excuses only go so far. Nothing is as bad as it seems ... sometimes it's not as good. We're right in the middle. We've had ups and downs and that's inconsistency."

The Hubs have not made the playoffs since 2006 and the Rebels haven't been there since 2002. There are other common areas between the two teams this year -- turnovers and penalties.

"It's a cliche, but turnovers and penalities have hurt," said Kellick. "Early in the year you accept them and correct them. But the mistakes have not been eliminated. (The players) are just not doing in the game what they're shown in practice."

And injuries have taken a toll also.

South junior tailback Nick Stubbs has been hampered throughout the year but said on Monday he is fit and ready to go 100 percent.

"A healthy Nick can break a play anywhere," said Kellick. "Our line has to play well and get Nick and X (Richardson) open."

Cunningham said the Hubs have to play well on defense.

"South can be explosive with those two and we can't match their size on the line," he noted.

And the Hubs hope junior tailback Anthony Winter comes with his 'A' game after being held under 100 yards in the loss to Boonsboro, coming off a school-record 264 yards rushing the previous week against Williamsport.

"Anthony has been a pleasant surprise," said Cunningham. "He is so explosive. He can change a game."

Williams knows Winter is the Hubs' man.

"The spotlight is on him," said Williams. "He'll have a bull's-eye on his back."

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