Fochtman produces four touchdowns for Maryland, but Pennsylvania rallies in the second half for 44-33 victory; Milford Mill’s Harris captures MVP honors
Team Maryland battled back from a 17-7 deficit to take a 21-17 lead early in the third quarter but eventually faded on a muggy night in Central Pennsylvania, as Team Pennsylvania rallied for a 44-33 victory in the 60th annual Big 33 Football Classic, Saturday night at Landis Field in Harrisburg, Pa.
Archbishop Spalding quarterback Evan Fochtman, who will play next fall at the United States Navel Academy, rushed for one touchdown and threw for three scores, a 51-yard touchdown toss to St. Frances Academy tight end Myles Wright, a Towson University recruit, and TD throws of 56-yards and 7-yards to Franklin’s Andreus Price (Garden City Community College), to lead Team Maryland. Maryland also got a 41-yard touchdown run from Chad Gleason, a Frostburg State recruit who led Walkersville to the Class 2A state crown last December.
“This is just a fantastic experience I will remember for the rest of my life,” said Fochtman, who will report to the Naval Academy within the next two weeks. “We came in today and we thought we were going to win. At halftime we were really high about everything, but it kind of fell apart there. That’s not really what this week is about. It’s really about the buddies, making new friends and making those lifelong bonds.”
As you might expect in a summer all-star game, both teams struggled with penalties and mistakes in the early going, but Pennsylvania rolled out a big-play passing game, which would be on prominent display all night, to strike for its first score on its second series of the game.
PA quarterback Reece Udinski (North Penn/VMI) completed a 40-yard pass to Joel Davis (Harrisburg/East Stroudsburg) to give his squad a first down at the Maryland 11, but Maryland forced their rivals into a 33-yard field goal attempt by Carson Landis (Emmaus/Penn State).
Landis’ kick was good, but Maryland was guilty of a roughing the kicker penalty. The Keystone State initially elected to keep the points and have the penalty applied on the kickoff, but after a timeout they took the points down and accepted a first-and-goal at the Maryland 8. One play later, Shawn Wood (Archibishop Wood) burst up the middle for an 8-yard score and a 7-0 Pennsylvania lead.
Maryland’s defense sparked its first score, later in the opening quarter with Milford Mill’s J’Quane Harris (Univ. of Charleston) coming up with MD’s first big play, with a strip-sack of Pennsylvania quarterback Grant Breneman (Cedar Cliff/Colgate) and Harris made the recovery at the 35. Maryland went backwards on its first snap, but on second down Gleason sliced off right tackle and raced 41 yards for a touchdown. Gleason led all rushers in the contest, carrying the ball nine times for 61 yards.
Pennsylvania bounced right back, launching a nine-play, 60-yard drive that was capped with a 20-yard TD pass from Udinski to Harris, with 9:00 left in the second quarter. The Keystone also added a 23-yard field goals from Landis, later in the quarter, to build a 17-7 lead.
Maryland, however, got close with a huge play late in second late in the first half when Fochtman found Wright roaming wide open in the center of the field for a 51-yard touchdown pass, cutting Pennsylvania’s lead to 17-14.
Maryland got the first possession of the second half and, after a 33-yard kickoff return by Annapolis’ Tyson Queen, Fochtman marched the visitors 57 yards in eight plays, aided by a pair of 15-yard face mask calls, and Maryand scored on a 7-yard TD run, taking its only lead at 27-21.
“I thought we had it right there,” said Fochtman, who rushed for 24 yards and completed 7-of-15 passes for 143-yards. “It’s not the way I wanted to go out with a loss, but I feel like I ended my high school career in a good way. I feel everything is falling into place in a good way and I am just excited to move on to the Naval Academy.”
Pennsylvania took the lead back for good with on a 31-yard touchdown pass from Grant Breneman (Cedar Cliff/Colgate) to St. Joe Prep’s Terrence Greene (Monmouth University), to start a run of four straight touchdowns by the hosts, as they lept out to a commanding 44-21 lead. Greene also caught PA’s final touchdown, connecting with Udinksi for a 72-yard TD strike to close the run. In between Jalen Thompson (Middletown Area/Towson) scored on a 4-yard run and Udinski connected with Darian Street (Liberty/Pittsburgh) for a 51-yard touchdown pass.
Maryland did not quit, however. Price took a swing pass from Fochtman in the left flat, broke two tackles and flashed excellent speed in racing 56-yards for his team’s fourth touchdown. Then on the game’s final play, Price (5 catches, 94-yards) made a diving grab in the end zone on a well thrown fade pass from Fochtman for another touchdown.
For Pennsylvania, Greene caught five balls for 162 yards and two touchdowns and Davis had six receptions for 132 yards. Both quarterbacks were outstanding with Udinski going 7-for-15 for 175 yards and two touchdowns and Breneman going 7-for-13 for 217 yards and two scores. Udinski was named Most Valuable Player for the Keystone State.
MVP honors for Free State went Milford Mill Academy’s J’Quane Harris. Harris, an undersize (5-foot-8, 235 pounds) but quick and athletic defensive linemen, recorded three sacks and a fumble recovery.
“We knew it was going to be tough, there’s a lot of talent over there,” said Harris, who will play Charleston in the fall. “We just wanted to come out here and show we can play with them.”
Despite the setback, Maryland’s fifth in six tries since returning to the game in 2013, Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz, who guided Team Maryland, feels his team gained a lot from the experience.
“We would have rather won, but we didn’t,” said the ever competitive Markiewicz. “There is nothing we can do about it. It’s an All-Star game. I think the kids, some of the people we met and the things we did, we appreciate that more. We would have liked it better if we won, but we didn’t.”
BIG 33 FOOTBALL CLASSIC
AT LANDIS FIELD (HARRISBURG, PA)
TEAM PENNSYLVANIA 44, TEAM MARYLAND 33
MD 7 7 7 12 — 33
PA 7 10 13 14 — 44
PA – Shawn Wood 7 run (Carson Landis kick)
MD – Chad Gleason 41 run (Hayden August kick)
PA – Joel Davis 20 pass from Reece Udinski (Landis kick)
PA – Landis 23 field goal
MD – Myles Wright 51 pass from Evan Fochtman (August kick)
MD – Fochtman 7 run (August kick)
PA – Terrence Greene 31 pass from Udinski (kick failed)
PA – Jalen Thompson 4 run (Landis kick)
PA – Darian Street 51 pass from Udinski (Landis kick)
PA – Green 72 pass from Breneman (Landis kick)
MD – Andreus Price 56 pass from Fochtman (run failed)
MD – Price 7 pass from Fochtman (no kick/final play)