Written by: Big 33 Staff on June 14, 2008.
Coming into the the 51st Annual Big 33 Classic, most observers believed this was going to be an evenly matched game with Ohio fielding a stronger team than it had in recent years. Whether or not that was true, it became apparent on the opening series of the game that Pennsylvania had a huge advantage on the line of scrimmage, one that would dictate the fate of both team’s passing games, and ultimately resulted in a blowout.
Pennsylvania’s offense produced its share of big plays in a surprisingly easy 31-16 victory that was not nearly as close as the final score. But it was the Pennsylvania defense that set the early tone, and dominated all night, with Harrisburg High School’s ferocious rush end Adrian Robinson claiming the game’s Most Valuable Player Award.
Robinson and his defensive cohorts posted a shutout for the entire first half while yielding just 99 total yards and Pennsylvania built a 24-0 halftime lead. The Temple-bound MVP had a lot of help in disrupting Ohio’s offense, with monstrous Harrisburg teammate Brandon Ware at defensive tackle and rangy Cardinal O’Hara defensive end Mark Wedderburn (both Penn State recruits) controlling the line of scrimmage. The stars up front had loads of help from Hazleton Area linebacker Nate Eachus, Easton cornerback Jarred Holley and Pittsburgh Central Catholic safety Andrew Taglianetti.
Ohio finally got on the board on its second possession of the second half, after Dublin Coffman linebacker Steve Gardiner’s leaping interception of Pennsylvania quarterback Jon Laub at the Pennsylvania 47. Ada High School’s Zac Dysert capped a 10-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown toss to Michigan-bound tailback Michael Shaw of Trotwood Madison High School. Shaw was named Ohio’s MVP.
The victory was the third straight for Pennsylvania, which now has a 9-7 edge since the Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 series resumed in 1993.