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High School Football: Rebels getting a little respect, in Maryland top 25 for first time

October 23, 2012|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — Tuesday was just another day to South Hagerstown football coach Toby Peer.

It was just another day in the football season — no more or less important than any one of them since mid-August or heading to mid-November.

And that’s the way Peer likes it.

For the Rebels’ football program, it was rather a momentous day.

But shhhh, Peer would rather not let anyone know it.

South Hagerstown cracked the Maryland Media High School Football State Poll for the first time ever on Tuesday, checking in at No. 22 in the Top 25 standings.

“To be honest, I didn’t know that until you just told me,” Peer said as he headed out to practice as South prepared for Friday’s game at Brunswick. “I’m really not paying any attention to those things. It’s about living in the moment and staying with the task at hand. It’s not prevalent to this weekend’s game.”

The task for South (8-0) is staying undefeated, which means trying to find a way to shut down Brunswick’s pass-happy offense.

Still, the Rebels moved into the Top 25 for the first time in the poll’s 23-year history.

South is the first Washington County team to crack the poll since North Hagerstown in 2003.

It is only the fourth county school to become ranked — following North, Smithsburg and Boonsboro.

At No. 22, South ties North for the highest ranking ever for a Hagerstown city school in the poll.

Smithsburg owns the highest ranking for a county school at No. 17 in 1994’s final poll, the year the Leopards won the Class 1A state title. At the time, the poll was only a Top 20.

Boonsboro also spent time in the 1994 poll, but finished 19th in 1993 — the year the Warriors were 1A state champions.

For South, the move into the poll is a stamp of validation for the program, which has improved dramatically in three years under Peer.

“The goal was to get to this point,” Peer said. “But to get here that fast, no one would have said that. It’s proof of the kids doing the job and their hard work.”

The Rebels are 20-8 under Peer. They are currently ranked third in the Class 3A West standings, which would mean a berth in the state playoffs. North Hagerstown is currently fourth.

Peer admits he is happy with the ranking, but knows that it means little right now and can quickly disappear, especially if South loses to Brunswick.

“I’m happy. This is nice to hear,” Peer said. “But this could all be short-lived if we lose. This can’t be a distraction.”

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