Lost in all the commotion that has been going on the past few days is the fact that the annual Big 33 game will be taking place this weekend. At 7 pm on Saturday night at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA, some of Ohio's top players will take on some of Pennsylvania's top players in the annual matchup that is referred to as "The Super Bowl of High School Football." Pennsylvania won last year's game and leads the series 5-4 since it was started up again between the two states.
Several players of interest will be in action for the Ohio team. Ohio State will have eight players taking part in their final game before putting on the Scarlet and Gray uniforms as CB Tony Gonzalez, TE Louis Irizarry, DL Brandon Maupin, DL David Patterson, LB Reggie Smith, S Curt Lukens, WR Devin Jordan, and OL Kirk Barton are all scheduled to play. In addition to those players, you will get a look at QB Ben Mauk (Wake Forest, Kenton HS), LB Shawn Crable (Michigan, Massillon Washington HS), WR Ernie Wheelwright (Minnesota, Columbus Walnut Ridge HS), RB Justin Valentine (Minnesota, Columbus Eastmoor HS), and WR Chinedum Ndukwe (Notre Dame, Dublin Coffman HS).
The top players on Pennsylvania's side include RB Austin Scott (Penn State), S Ryan Mundy (Michigan), OL Joel Holler (Penn State), DL John Shaw (Penn State), QB Marcus Stone (NC State), and LB Paul Posluszny (Penn State). Many fans thought Ohio would win last year's matchup as the Buckeye State had a highly-touted group of seniors, but PA won handily, 40-17. PA has won three games in a row.
Look for a fine Ohio offense in this one as Mauk will have plenty of targets to throw to (Wheelwright, Irizarry, Jordan, and Ndukwe for starters) and a couple of fine RBs in Valentine and Miami (OH) bound Brandon Murphy. The offensive line also looks solid as it features Barton as well as Boston College's Ty Hall and Tom Anevski and Pittsburgh's Mike DeLuca, Zach Slates and Mike McGlynn. Defensively, David Patterson and Brandon Maupin will be on the same defensive line, and look for the other Buckeyes to play a big role along with West Virginia's Davonzo Tate (Austintown-Fitch) and Keilen Dykes (Youngstown Chaney). On the PA side, watch Austin Scott as he had an unbelievable senior campaign and looks like the RB of the future for Penn State.
According to a press release, the game is scheduled to be joined in progress at 7:15 pm EST by Fox Sports Ohio. Youngstown area fans can also catch it on the radio on WBBW 1240 AM. Or, if you are in the area, tickets are still available for the game.
For more information on the game, the players and everything associated with the Big 33, check out the Web site by clicking here. Go Ohio!