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Thirteen WPIAL players selected for Big 33 game

| Friday, Feb. 10, 2017, 6:57 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Central Catholic's Justice Evans carries through the Seneca Valley defense during the first quarter of the WPIAL Class 6A championship game Friday, Nov. 18, 2016, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Central Catholic's Kurt Hinish leads the Vikings from the field after defeating Wilson, 63-21, in their PIAA Class 6A semifinal Saturday Dec. 3, 2016, at Mansion Park in Altoona. Central returns to the state final in Hershey next weekend.

Central Catholic had one of the most dominant football seasons in state history last fall, claiming a second consecutive WPIAL championship and a runner-up finish in the PIAA tournament.

The Vikings outscored opponents by an average of 30.3 points to finish 14-2.

On Feb. 1, 15 senior players signed letters of intent to play at the college level.

And Friday night, five of those Vikings were picked to play in the annual Big 33 Football Classic.

The group includes receiver Justice Evans (IUP), offensive linemen Kurt Hinish (Notre Dame) and Jake Trautman (Fordham), linebacker Tim Terry (Buffalo) and defensive back Rodney Thomas (Yale).

Other WPIAL players selected to play in the prestigious contest include Woodland Hills wide receiver Avram Abromovitz and defensive back Saeed Holt (Toledo), North Allegheny tight end Griffin Sestili (Temple) and offensive lineman Josh Lugg (Notre Dame), Upper St. Clair offensive lineman Gabe Houy (Pitt), Penn-Trafford offensive lineman Will Schumacher (Army), McKeesport defensive lineman Curtis Harper (Syracuse) and Steel Valley defensive back Paris Ford (Pitt).

Franklin Regional's Greg Botta will coach Team Pennsylvania, which again will play a team of all-stars from Maryland. Montour's Lou Cerro will be an assistant.

“You look at the offensive line and defensive line, the quarterbacks and where they are all going to school, it's good to see a lot of D-I kids and talented skill kids who are playmakers,” said Botta, who was an assistant coach for Team Pennsylvania in 2014. “That's what this game is about. It's about scoring, all man coverage, no zone. The fans will be entertained.”

The Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association will handle game operations after the Big 33 Foundation was disbanded earlier this year.

“The PSFCA stood up to the challenge, got this thing rolling,” Botta said. “It's going to be bigger and better than ever.”

Botta said the game will be played at either Hersheypark Stadium or nearby Milton Hershey School in late May or early June.

Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at

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