WPIAL stars eager to write next chapter in Big 33 history

Friday, May 24, 2024 | 6:01 AM

Filled with rich history and tradition, the Big 33 has propelled countless players to prolific college careers, with many climbing the ladder all the way to the NFL.

The game’s most notable alumni include Miles Sanders, Tyler Boyd, Joe Montana, Ben Roethlisberger, Dan Marino, Ricky Watters, Curtis Martin and Damar Hamlin.

“Being a kid from Western Pa., we circle this game on our calendars our entire high school careers,” Penn-Trafford lineman Zach Tomosovich said. “To see that I am following in the footsteps of many notable alumni who went on to play in the NFL, it feels good to know that I am competing in the same game that they once did in high school.”

The 67th annual PSFCA Big 33 Classic, sometimes referred to as the Super Bowl of High School Football, is in full effect this Memorial Day weekend. Kickoff is 7 p.m Sunday at Cumberland Valley High School’s Chapman Field. The game matches all-stars from Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Eight WPIAL players were among the 38 all-stars selected in February to represent Pennsylvania: Aliquippa linebacker Cameron Lindsey and defensive back Brandon Banks; Canon-McMillan defensive end Kaeden Singleton and linebacker Geno Calgaro; North Allegheny wide receiver/defensive back Khiryn Boyd; Pine-Richland linebacker Evan Johnson; Bishop Canevin safety Jason Cross; and Tomosovich.

Lindsey, who has signed with Pitt, is taking it all in, being a part of such a historic classic.

“It’s a blessing. I am thankful I got picked to play in this game, so it’s only right I go out there Sunday and play my hardest,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey will be playing linebacker at Pitt this season and is looking forward to being part of a Panthers resurgence.

“Changing around the team, bringing Pitt back on top of the ACC is the ultimate goal, but just taking in every moment and making the most of it,” Lindsey said of his goals.

In the classroom, Lindsey plans on studying communications.

“I want to get my degree in communications and eventually whenever I am done playing football, I want to become a sports analyst,” he said.

Tomosovich, an Army recruit, expects his Big 33 experience to be a great opportunity to challenge himself.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to play against athletes of every skill set,” Tomosovich said. “You get to measure yourself up against the best athletes in your class.”

Team Pennsylvania is led by Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish. He has accumulated 173 wins in his 34-year coaching career at Jersey Shore, Williamsport, Bellefonte and East Juniata.

Lindsey had great things to say about Gravish.

“He’s a really great dude,” Lindsey said. “Real passionate about this game and just as fired up to beat Maryland as a team.”

Team Pennsylvania’s first practice took place Thursday, and players and coaches wasted no time.

“First practice, we went straight into learning plays that we want to run against Maryland,” Lindsey said.

Team Maryland will be led by Steven Erxleben of South River High School in Anne Arundel County.

Pennsylvania vs. Maryland is a rivalry Tomosovich is looking forward to joining.

“This is going to be a very good game,” Tomosovich said. “We know Maryland is a really good team. That’s why we have to come out and be ready.”

Tomosovich looks at the Big 33 game as his last opportunity to put on a high school uniform and enjoy the experience before transitioning to the Division I level.

Tomosovich will play offensive tackle at Army, deciding to choose a school that fit his playing style.

“Army loves running the ball,” Tomosovich said. “When I get an opportunity to beat some kids while we’re running the ball, that’s what I am going to do.”

The next game Tomosovich might have circled on his calendar is Army vs. Navy.

“I know I am going to be nervous, but hopefully by that point, I’ll have a couple games played and I can settle in and things will go just fine,” Tomosovich said.

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