All-Mets Marcus Newby of Quince Orchard and Antonio Harris of Wise highlight the list of 19 local players selected to represent Maryland in the Big 33 Football Classic, released last week. The team will meet a squad of Pennsylvania’s top players in the 57th annual all-star game on June 13 in Hershey, Pa., marking Maryland’s return to the exhibition for the first time since 1992. (Check out the Pennsylvania roster here.)
Players were selected after two tryout combines with the first taking place in February at the Baltimore Ravens training facility in Owings Mills and the other held in Anne Arundel County earlier this month. Out of a pool of more than 100 candidates, the coaches selected 33 position players and Severn kicker Ben Priddy (Georgetown).
Harris, an offensive lineman headed to Towson, said he’d never heard of the Big 33 game until Wise Coach DaLawn Parrish, who will assist Gilman Coach Biff Poggi at the game, sent him the following clip, a profile of the game that aired on ESPN in 2009.
While the event has lost some of its luster through the years with the rise of national all-star games, one impressive fact continues to endure: Every Super Bowl has included at least one Big 33 alumnus.
“There’s a lot of pride involved,” Harris said. “I know a lot of people who didn’t want to do it and then saw that link and watched the video and said ‘Oh, I want to do it now.”
Harris will be joined on the all-star roster by Wise teammates Jai Franklin (Old Dominion) and Myles Humphrey (Shepherd), while Newby (Nebraska) has company on the defense in Quince Orchard lineman Kieran Gregory (Richmond). Cougars Coach Dave Mencarini is also on the staff.
Among local schools, Avalon and Northwestern also landed a pair of players on the list. Gilman, the MIAA-A champion in the fall, has the most representation with five players, including University of Maryland-bound quarterback Shane Cockerille.
Players typically spend about a week in Pennsylvania, staying with host families and participating in practices and various service related projects in the days leading up to the game.
“Everybody’s got to do their part: Work hard, play hard, do what we’re taught and beat Pennsylvania,” Harris said. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the team, but I don’t see anybody beating us.”
Last week, Avalon running back Jacquille Veii (Maryland) took to Twitter to express a similar sentiment:
Shout out all my bros that are on to play in the big 33 lets do maryland proud and bring home that cup !!
— Jacquille Veii (@VeiiNation) March 20, 2013
Gilman linebacker Micah Kiser (Virginia), too.
Maryland Big 33 Team #RepresentThe410