Rebels: All for one and one for all

September 03, 2010|By BOB PARASILITI
  • Washington County previews

Nowadays, there is one thing the players on South Hagerstown's football team need to remember.

Get amnesia.

It's a whole new nondescript world for the Rebels, especially for seniors like Nick Stubbs and Ronnie Embly.

After years of playing the game in a certain style, new coach Toby Peer has taken over at South and has stripped the Rebels down to their foundations.

"We have a whole bunch of different blocking routines," said Embly, a team captain and the Rebels' only returning lineman. "It's different, but you adjust to it. The basics are the same."

It's a world where you need to file the past away to help build a brighter future.

"The coaching staff has been able to make the players more dedicated," said Stubbs, South's top returning running back. "More guys have come out and are really dedicated. The coaches told us that we are the best recruiters we got. They told us to go out and talk our buddies into coming out."


South Hagerstown has 102 players out this season, including 38 on the varsity.

Peer, who replaces longtime coach Greg Kellick, came in with a new batch of everything. It starts with a spread offensive attack that not only changes old habits and techniques, but forces the players to forget all the things they have come to believe.

"We want to be the no-name offense, no-name defense and the no-name special teams," Peer said. "We want to be the no-name South Hagerstown football team. We want everything to be done like a team. We want them to be a group of young men who go out and succeed on the football field and in life.

"We want them to believe that names will get in the newspaper, but when we score a touchdown, it wasn't scored by one player. The team scored it. That is imperative that they understand that."

That makes South's all-white uniforms with white helmets fitting. Peer wants a generic, but team-oriented, attitude. No one is bigger or smaller than anyone else on the team. The preseason roster assured it since there were no heights or weights listed.

No starters have been named, giving the feel that those announcements could become a LeBron James-like decision special.

"We don't have any starters yet. We just have a number of arrows pointing to players who should be considered," Peer said. "We are taking our time trying to name the right starters. We are trying to build a program and we are taking a systematic approach to it."

Gone is much of South's power football mentality as a spread-style offense is being implemented, along with a multiple defense, featuring an eight-man front.

"All the schemes are being changed on the offense, defense and special teams," Peer said. "It takes time for all of it to be implemented, along with the tempo we want to run at practices. Anytime you have new people involved it takes time to adjust. The kids are buying in to it and the coaches are buying into it. It is a work in progress."

A number of players have returned and are going through the transformation process. Some may not only have to change style, but might have to change positions.

"All kids are extremely coachable," said South's offensive coordinator Rob Burnham. "They have responded to the changes and we scrimmaged after six practices. When we were in Virginia, we used to put the offense and it would be 24 practices before we scrimmaged. We have changed a lot in the time frame."

Hunter Phillips and Shon Chisom have been working the controls of the new offense.

"Phillips has the ability to play a lot of positions," Peer said. "He can play quarterback but he could play anywhere. Chisom is a tall guy who has transferred in."

Other offensive players are receivers Cornelious Prather, Kenny Kitchen and Jordan Nicewarner.

On the line, Embly will be joined by a number of players with junior varsity experience.

Jarrod McFadden and Trevor Haupt could join Stubbs in the offensive backfield.

"Nick is going to be our go-to guy," Burnham said. "He is talented and does the things we need. Sometimes he runs too fast. We need him to become a little more patient."

On defense, a number of players will be going both ways. Warrens Remy could see time at defensive line while McFadden and Haupt make up part of a solid linebacking crew. Phillips, Stubbs and C.J. Davis have a shot to be found in the defensive backfield.

The general assessments are all trying to point to a specific goal.

"Our goal is to get better every day," Peer said. "We have to go out and raise the bar every day. I can't compare and tell where we are because I'm new here. I just want us to get better."

Even with all the change, improvement is something Embly can live with. That means his contributions can go to help make South Hagerstown football better in the future.

"It is weird being a senior," Embly said. "It took a long time to get here and it's hard to believe that I'm here. I think I'm kind of lucky to be a senior now. It gives me the chance to have players look to me and it gives me a chance to help them so they are better in the future. I want to help them become a better football team in the future."

Stubbs proves he has a short memory as he has shelved the past to get accustomed to the new feel of South football.

"It's not going to be one player to winning a ball game, it's going to take a team to win," Stubbs said. "The big key is to have some fun. I think if we work hard, it will all pan out the way Coach wants."

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