North-South football contest Hagerstown's own Super Bowl

November 05, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER |
  • South Hagerstown High School football fans cheer Saturday as the Rebels beat the North Hagerstown High School Hubs 40-7.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

When North Hagerstown High School meets South Hagerstown High School on the 50-yard line each year, it's not your typical football game.

Especially not this year.  

It's a park-1/2-mile-away, turn-to-the-left-then-the-right-then-duck-to-squeeze-through-the-crowd, wait-25-people-back-for-a-hot-dog, paint-your-chest-and-your-face, print-special-T-shirts, make-sure-you-pack-the-foam-finger-cowbell-and-megaphone kind of game.

And the atmosphere is electric.

"It's intense," Sergio Galvan Sr. said.

Galvan is the father of Sergio Galvan Jr., who plays defense for North High.

You wouldn't know it to look at Galvan Sr., but Saturday, deep into the second quarter with South High up 27-7, the father admitted he was nervous.

For the parent of a player, there is a heightened sense of excitement at the North-South game, Pete Grunberg said.

Grunberg's son Mark is a kicker for North High.

Mark might not spend as much time on the field as other players, but when his son kicks, as a father, it puts a knot in his stomach, Grunberg said.

"It's the North-South game," he said.  

But they still are parents.

Before the game Saturday, Matthew Courtney, whose son Alex is a middle linebacker for North High, said he told his son to hit hard, hit low, and bring him 25 tackles this game, five more than his last game.

Dale Hess said he offered his son Brandon, quarterback for South High, the advice to play hard, but play clean.

With South up by 20 points, six of which were scored by Brandon, Hess said it appeared the entire team was heeding that advice.

"They are playing very well, they are pumped," Dave Bucher said.

Bucher's son Jordan plays defensive tackle for South High.

It was not ranking for which the teams played Saturday, as with South High's victory, neither team qualified for the playoffs.

They played for more than a win — they played for pride and for city bragging rights, Hess said.

Saturday's game was the last North-South game for the many seniors, including Brandon and Jordan.

For others, such as a group of young freshman females there to cheer on North High, the competition was just beginning.

The intensity of the cross-town rivalry between the two teams could not fit into one word.

Chris Hutzell, a sophomore at North High, called it huge. Fellow North High sophomore Stephen Ashby said it was lifelong. Megan Socks, a junior at South High, said it was always a big game.

But perhaps Courtney captured it best when he said, "It's almost like the Super Bowl for these teams."

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