Written by: Big 33 Staff on June 18, 2016.
Franklin Regional’s Todd Summers and about a dozen other WPIAL standouts contributed to a 26-14 Pennsylvania win in the 59th edition of the Big 33 Football Classic. Summers spent most of his time on the field Saturday as a blocking tight end. Summers helped open holes for the PA backfield of Woodland Hills seniors Jo-El Shaw and Miles Sanders and McKeesport’s Khaleke Hudson.
Sanders, a Penn State commit, knowing his number would be called on Pennsylvania’s first play from scrimmage, caught Parkland’s Devante Cross, a University of Virginia recruit’s pass in the corner of the end zone. The play was set up on an interception by Pittsburgh Central Catholic star Damar Hamlin, one of Sanders’ WPIAL rivals over the last three seasons. Hamlin, headed to Pitt, helped PA limit Maryland to 122 passing yards on the night. Sanders, initially lined up as a slot receiver, joined Syracuse signee Shaw to lead the PA backfield. Shaw manufactured 82 rushing yards on 14 attempts. His 3-yard scoring drive in the second quarter came three minutes after Sanders punched in from the Maryland 5. PA earned a 19-0 edge at halftime. Both Sanders and Shaw each rushed for 75 yards. Shaw had 13 carries, and Sanders had seven. Sanders ran for two touchdowns and caught another as Pennsylvania raced out to a 26-0 lead before Maryland recorded two second-half scores.
The Maryland coaching staff knew it didn’t have the same star power as Pennsylvania for the Big 33 Classic, but it didn’t see any reason to think it couldn’t hang with the Keystone State’s finest in the annual all-star game. And through the early part of Saturday night’s matchup at Hersheypark Stadium, the Maryland defense was stout and trailed Pennsylvania by only a touchdown after the opening quarter. Another Penn State product, wide receiver Dae’lun Darien, got Maryland on the board late in the fourth quarter. Matched in man coverage, Darien hauled in a 35-yard scoring strike from quarterback Shawn Bliss with 5:53 to go to cut the lead to 26-7. Darien had 40 yards. With 1:43 remaining, Northwest defensive back Martin Foray Jr. (Saint Francis University) jumped a route and took his interception 62 yards the other way to bring the Maryland squad to within two touchdowns.
Pennsylvania’s defense with Hudson heading to Michigan and Central Catholic’s Damar Hamlin going to Pittsburgh in the secondary held Maryland to 41 yards rushing and didn’t let the offense establish any sort of rhythm. Old Mill running back Pete Boone had a team-high 24 yards rushing, and Owings Mills running back Michael Johnson, a West Virginia State recruit had a team-high 54 yards receiving. Maryland had 21 net yards on 24 carries. Hudson also rushed four times for 43 yards in the victory.
The win was PA’s second straight against Maryland following a 20-3 victory in 2015. Since Maryland returned to the Big 33 Classic in 2013, it has dropped three of four meetings, with the lone victory coming in 2014, and Pennsylvania improved to 10-2 in the series.