HERSHEY, PA., AUG. 1 -- Maryland stopped Pennsylvania twice from the 1-yard line within the final two minutes to preserve a 26-22 victory in the Big 33 high school all-star football game tonight before 17,237 at Hersheypark Stadium.
Pennsylvania had defeated Maryland the first two years in the three-game series, which may not be renewed next season.
"This was a tremendous victory for Maryland football," said Maryland Coach Jerry Mears. "We proved tonight that we can play with Pennsylvania. Maybe this victory will help us continue to play in the game. We'd really like for this rivalry to continue."
Maryland raced to a 26-6 first-half lead, but Pennsylvania chipped away until Robert Watters' 15-yard punt return with 2:12 to play gave the hosts a first down on the Maryland 33. Pennsylvania's Doug Sieg then completed a 26-yard pass to Terry Smith to the 7.
Pennsylvania tried to power the ball through the Maryland defense four straight times. By third down, the ball rested on the 1-yard line, but DeMatha tackle Mike Ritter stopped the play for no gain and linebackers Andre Jones (DeMatha) and Bill Douglass (Wilde Lake) smothered the fourth-down play for a one-yard loss.
Maryland then took an intentional safety, Gaithersburg quarterback Eric Nichols kneeling in the end zone for the final 26-22 score.
Twenty-nine seconds were left, however, and Watters returned the ensuing free-kick punt to the Maryland 30. Pennsylvania was out of timeouts, but it wasn't until a pass bounced off Smith's fingertips in the end zone with no time remaining that Maryland could celebrate.
In the first half, Pennsylvania committed five turnovers.
Brian Allred (Hammond) scored on a 37-yard pass from Nichols and the conversion by Tim Walker (Meade) made it 7-0 lead.
Pennsylvania answered with a 33-yard touchdown pass from Sieg to Warren West. The extra-point kick was blocked, so Maryland led, 7-6.
Mears then called on one of his Meade players, running back Jeff Allen, who took an option pitch from Nichols and raced around left end 62 yards for a touchdown with 9:10 left in the first half.
On Pennsylvania's next possession, it was pinned at its goal line. Running back Gary Brown fumbled, and Jones fought through the pile to recover for a touchdown. Walker's kick put Maryland up, 20-6. And on Maryland's next possession, Nichols threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Gaithersburg teammate Robert Jackson for a 26-6 advantage.
Pennsylvania regrouped for a touchdown late in the half when University of Maryland recruit Paul Romanchock completed a 37-yard touchdown pass to Smith to cut Maryland's lead to 26-13 by halftime.
Pennsylvania capitalized on a turnover in the third quarter when defensive back Louis Riddick intercepted a pass by Oxon Hill's Tom Green and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown that reduced the lead to 26-20. Maryland 13 13 0 0 26 Pennsylvania 6 7 7 2 22
M -- Allred 37 pass from Nichols (Walker kick)
P -- West 33 pass from Sieg (kick failed)
M -- Allen 62 run (kick failed)
M -- Jones recovered fumble in end zone (Walker kick)
M -- Jackson 20 pass from Nichols (kick failed)
P -- Smith 37 pass from Romanchock (West kick)
P -- Riddick 31 interception return (West kick)
P -- Safety (Nichols downed in end zone)