Team Pennsylvania Takes the 64th Annual Big 33 Classic
Written by: Tristan Klinefelter on May 31, 2021. Photo courtesy Paul Burdick.
The 64th annual Big 33 game concluded the super Memorial Weekend Monday afternoon with Team Pennsylvania coming out on top over Maryland, 20-0. Manheim Township’s Evan Clark led team Pennsylvania in passing going 8-12 for 110 yards and a touchdown while Central York’s Judah Tomb caught two passes for 74 yards and a touchdown.
To start the first quarter both teams struggled to find an offensive groove. Maryland had the ball deep in their own end when Loyalsock’s Aedan Holler came rushing through the line and sacked Maryland quarterback Billy Atkins forcing the fumble in which Pittsburgh Central Catholics Bralen Henderson scooped up the ball and rushed in from 14 yards out. This gave Pennsylvania a 7-0 lead after JP McCaskey’s Sam Hershey nailed the extra point attempt.
Midway through the second quarter, Pennsylvania would strike again. Clark threw a dime to Tomb for a 64-yard touchdown. The extra point was blocked, giving Pennsylvania a 13-0 lead with 7:22 to go in the second quarter. Tomb commented on the play adding, “The quarterback came into the huddle and was unsure of what to do. He gave me the audible and threw a perfect ball.” Tomb also added how this was one of the greatest experiences ever and how he would not change it for anything.
This year in the Big 33 there was a new milestone reached in the game. For the first time, there has been a father-son coaching duo. The coaching duo came from 1990 Towanda head coach Jack Young Sr. and this year Athens head coach Jack Young. Young Sr. was part of the 1990 Big 33 game in which Pennsylvania defeated Maryland 42-28. This year it may not have been a high-scoring game but it is the first time a father-son duo has coached and also won the game. Young commented about the milestone saying, “There is no feeling, I’m gonna enjoy it tonight with my family and friends, I even lost my voice. I just had a little part to do with the win today. I had seven tremendous high school football coaches and 38 tremendous football players. It’s a special time and a moment I will remember forever. I’m sure it will hit me in different moments but definitely a special time.”
The second half of the game began very slowly for both teams. With no scoring in the third quarter, the score remained 13-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
With 5:04 to go in the game, Maryland finally caught a break and was able to block a punt attempt. However, the very next play Henderson came in for his second sack of the day, and this time he forced a fumble that was recovered by Pine Richland’s Luke Miller. On the ensuing 9 play drive Warwick quarterback Joey McCracken found St. Joseph’s Prep’s. Malik Cooper in the back of the end zone for the 20-yard touchdown with just 1:30 to go in the game. Hershey again made the extra point giving Pennsylvania a 20-0 lead.
After the ensuing kickoff, Central Valley safety Stephon Hall intercepted Brian Plummer with 1:21 to go to seal the win for team Pennsylvania. Governor Mifflin’s Cam’Ron Stewart won the MVP award for team Pennsylvania and for Maryland Tre Jordan III. Jordan commented on the MVP award saying, “This was an awesome experience. Being able to play in this game is just something I will remember forever. And I am very excited for the next chapter in my life.”
The super Memorial Football Weekend has officially come to an end for the 2021 season. Sunday the first annual 1-3A East/West Small School game concluded with the East squad winning 17-10. The second game of the weekend featured the East/West Large School team in which the East won the game 38-13. And finally, the 64th Big 33 classic finished with a 20-0 Pennsylvania victory.