‘Proud to be a Tiger’: Hagerstown football getting back to good ol’ days after proving it belongs

HAGERSTOWN, Ind. — Peyton Meyer led his team across the bridge, down the Tiger pawprint path to the entrance to Mark Childs Field.

He stopped at the gate. The junior vocal leader turned to face his teammates and pointed at a sign hanging above them. Tri-Eastern Conference championship seasons, undefeated regular seasons, academic all-state honorees and more covered the signs surrounding the entrance, but Meyer brought everyone’s focus to the years listed below “Sectional Champs.”

“I pointed at the last time we won a sectional was 2010,” Meyer said. “I told them, ‘This is the game where we can put our year on there.’”

Hagerstown hadn’t won a sectional title in 12 years. It hadn’t been to a sectional championship game in four years. The Tigers totaled just one win in the two seasons before this one. Nov. 4, 2022, was a chance to rewrite the Hagerstown history books.

After beating Wes-Del 39-7 and Tindley 41-0, the Tigers found themselves in that elusive championship game against Sheridan, the sixth-ranked Indiana team in Class 1A. The Tigers hadn’t sniffed those rankings in years, but they believed they could win. Head coach Scott Snodgrass said his players believed all week and practiced like it all week. After the first half Friday, you could lobby for Hagerstown to be right there with the Blackhawks.

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The Tigers’ first four drives ended in touchdowns, and they nearly got into the end zone a fifth time right before the clock ran out in the first half. They went into the locker room trailing 31-30.

The sea of purple and yellow in the Hagerstown stands was buzzing during the halftime break. The players believed, and they dispelled any doubt that may have lingered around their fans.

“I’d say it’s every bit of the best we’ve ever played,” senior Mason Romack said of the first half. “All of our boys, we left it out there, and we did everything we could.”

Everything the Tigers had was what they needed to keep their dream alive. Unfortunately for them, their everything seemed to run out as they ran off the field after that first half. Sheridan went on to outscore Hagerstown 44-6 the rest of the way for a 75-36 sectional championship victory.

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“After a while, we just got tired,” Snodgrass said. “I think they proved they deserved to be here … I couldn’t be prouder of them. I know the score looks like crap, but I felt like our kids played their hearts out tonight. They made me proud to be a Tiger.”

The Hagerstown Tigers run off the field after the first half of a sectional championship game against Sheridan Nov. 4, 2022.
The Hagerstown Tigers run off the field after the first half of a sectional championship game against Sheridan Nov. 4, 2022.

They did deserve to be there — going punch for punch with a top-10 team for a half proved that — and it was the seniors’ goal to get their younger teammates to that point. Hagerstown finished the season 7-5 with two more wins than the previous three years combined. It’s a step toward getting the program back to its winning ways.

Yes, 2010 was the last year the Tigers won a sectional, but it’s been more than two decades since the glory days of Hagerstown football. Hagerstown won its first sectional in 1982, and its next two came in ’84 and ’85. The Tigers then went on to win six out of eight titles from 1993-2000. Their only one since came in 2010.

The seniors of this 2022 team experienced the recent struggles, but they know all about the program’s rich history, and they hope they’ve laid the groundwork for future teams to be successful.

“The last few years haven’t been what we’ve wanted them to be, so we wanted to get everything back on the right track,” Romack said. “I feel like the seniors did their job. I feel like we turned this program around and got these young guys in the right mindset to go forward and be great over the next few years.”

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The Tigers aren’t the biggest, strongest or fastest team, but they’re big enough, strong enough and fast enough to believe they can compete with anybody. That was the root of their success this season and will be the root of their success in years to come.

“We play with a bunch of heart because we know what people expect,” Meyer said. “We have a winning tradition in our program, and we looked back and thought we could get this. It was in our reach with the talent we had and the guys we had.”

If you look at Hagerstown’s roster, those successful years to come could start as early as 2023. Romack will be a tough loss, as he led the team in rushing and receiving yards as well as interceptions, but he is one of only a couple graduating seniors who had significant playing time this season. Everyone else is coming back.

When asked just how much potential his team has over the next couple years, Snodgrass’ eyes got wide as he said, “I think there’s a ton of potential.”

Zach Piatt is a reporter for The Palladium-Item. Contact him at or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.

This article originally appeared on Richmond Palladium-Item: Hagerstown football proves it belongs in sectional championship game