ShareThis Page

Pennsylvania team set to reignite rivalry with Maryland in annual Big 33 Football Classic

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 11:55 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Clairton's Tyler Boyd scores the Bears' first touchdown past Dunmore's Mike Kolcharno during the first quarter of the PIAA Class A state championship game Friday Dec. 14, 2012 in Hershey. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
North Allegheny head coach Art Walker Jr. celebrates his team's 63-28 victory over Coatesville in the PIAA Class AAAA championship game December 15, 2012, at Hersheypark Stadium.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
North Allegheny quarterback Mack Leftwich fends off Wilson's Dominic Moyer to complete a pass during the fourth quarter of their PIAA Class AAAA semifinal Saturday, Dec. 8, 2012, at Mansion Park in Altoona. NA won, 45-10.
Christopher Horner
Seneca Valley's Forrest Barnes returns a kick for a touchdown past Pine-Richland's Kevin Rader (38) during the second quarter Friday September 7, 2012, in Jackson.

After two decades of battling Buckeyes, Pennsylvania will welcome another neighbor to Hershey for Saturday's Big 33 Football Classic.

Maryland has replaced Ohio as the out-of-state opponent in the high school all-star game, even though fans from Western Pennsylvania might disagree with its rival status.

“We don't see Maryland as a rival, but the eastern part of the state definitely does,” said North Allegheny's Art Walker, Pennsylvania's coach. “Once you're up here for a week and you see them, (the rivalry) starts to build.”

The teams have practiced this week at high schools around Harrisburg. This year's game will be televised by PCN and the NFL Network.

A change from Ohio to Maryland should draw a larger crowd to Hersheypark Stadium for the 7 p.m. game, a key reason why organizers made the switch in October.

Schedule conflicts with similar all-star games in Ohio also prompted the move. But this Mason-Dixon Line rivalry isn't entirely new; Maryland was the Big 33 opponent in 1985-92.

“The relationship we had before with Maryland was very good,” said Central Valley's Mark Lyons, an assistant coach for Pennsylvania. “A couple years ago the Ohio situation started to break down a little bit ... and the Maryland people were eager to get back in.”

The event's format has matched the Keystone state against a number of opponents during its 56 years, including Texas in the 1960s.

Pennsylvania won six of eight games against Maryland.

“The crowds were at their biggest when we had Maryland,” Lyons said. “When you ask people to not only cross Ohio but also the state of Pennsylvania, that's a pretty big drive.”

Pennsylvania's roster has nine players from the WPIAL; among them are North Allegheny quarterback Mack Leftwich and Clairton teammates Tyler Boyd and Titus Howard. All three won PIAA championships at Hersheypark Stadium in December.

The rosters also have six Pitt recruits: Boyd, Howard, Harverford linebacker Matt Galambos, Chambersburg lineman Aaron Reese, West Catholic lineman Jaryd Jones-Smith, La Salle College kicker Ryan Winslow and Avalon (Md.) running back Rachid Ibrahim.

While this game historically has featured a number of Ohio State recruits, this year there are six committed to Maryland.

Chris Harlan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @CHarlan_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.