High School All-Stars from PA and Maryland to Face Off for PSFCA Big 33 Football Classic's 62nd Anniversary Game on May 27th at Landis Field

HARRISBURG, PA (January 31, 2019) – High school all-stars from Pennsylvania and Maryland will compete at the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Big 33 Football Classic 62nd game on Monday, May 27th, at Central Dauphin School District's Landis Field, based in Lower Paxton Township. Today, Pennsylvania’s 38-member Big 33 team was announced along with the East/West Game rosters. Go to www.Big33.org for PA’s Big 33 Team, and to www.PSFCA.mobi for the East/West rosters. Pennsylvania and Maryland Cheer Teams will be announced in the coming week.

"We are proud to showcase the country’s premier high school football game featuring so many extraordinarily talented student athletes, in partnership with the Dauphin County Commissioners," said Garry Cathell, executive director of PSFCA.  "Working with this caliber of players, both on and off of the field, watching them combine their talents, and giving back through our unique Buddy Program and during community visits like the Lebanon VA Medical Center, is such a special experience that’s truly remarkable.”

"We’re excited to see today’s new PA team gear up for one of America’s favorite sports, and we’re looking forward to another spectacular game, one that's been played since 1957, and continues to energize generations of fans," added PSFCA President Coach Bret Stover. "We are grateful to the Commissioners, our host families, players, sponsors, buddies, cheerleaders, fans, and volunteers for supporting the success of one of the country's top high school competitions."

 “Our local equivalent to the Super Bowl, the Big 33 game is the cornerstone of our region’s growing sports tourism industry,” said Dauphin County Board Chairman Jeff Haste. “That’s why, every year, we proudly support the game, its young athletes, and all the activities happening that week.”

Since the PSFCA has taken over the Big 33 Football Classic in early 2017, the commissioners have provided vital support annually in tourism grant funding, which is generated by hotel room taxes, to ensure the game would continue in Dauphin County.

“The Big 33 is back in Dauphin County and more exciting than ever,” said Commissioner Mike Pries. “Keeping the game here is a huge win for our region – both for fans and young athletes as well as local restaurants and hotels. Game week draws hundreds of fans and football players, cheerleaders and their families to the area.”

The game and other events surrounding Big 33 support the Buddy Program, which connects kids with special needs with all-star athletes in football, cheerleading and beyond.

“The impact of the Big 33 goes far beyond what you might imagine and changes so many lives for the better,” said Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III. “This year’s activities will also include a pre-game day fan experience, with fun games for the whole family and drug and alcohol prevention information, and more.”

Another major announcement, was made with Big 33 partner Julie Walker, of The Peyton Walker Foundation, who applauded the Big 33 for their leadership in making the heart safety of their players and athletes a top priority. Walker said, “We are grateful to partner with PSFCA, Big 33, Mid Penn Bank and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to provide heart screenings for all Pennsylvania players this year. CHOP is pleased to be the medical partner for the Team Heart Screenings and provide an Electrocardiogram, a murmur check and an Echocardiogram.”

Walker is a nationally-recognized heart hero, working to prevent Sudden Cardiac Arrest in students, and pointed out that conditions that can cause SCA are often detectable and treatable, yet it is the number one killer of student athletes in the country. The Foundation provides free routine heart screenings that help to identify potential heart issues that can lead to Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Mid Penn Bank is sponsoring the Big 33 screenings. She added, “Thank you for being Heart Heroes in support of our cause.  Saving other families from losing a child to SCA is our end goal.”

Miss Pennsylvania Kayla Repasky added her support and will also be participating in the May festivities.  She joined 2019 Honorary Chair Bruce Clark, in attending the press conference.  Clark is a 1976 Big 33 Alum, a former American college and professional football player who was a defensive end in the Canadian Football League, National Football League, World Football League and Arena Football League for 16 solid seasons, finishing a remarkable career in 1995.  While at  Penn State University, he started as a linebacker his freshman year and was a Consensus All-American for two years, and became the first junior ever to receive the prestigious Lombardi Award. He was the fourth pick overall in the 1980 NFL Draft, Green Bay Packer’s first round draft choice, but chose to play for the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts before joining the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs. Last year his son Brandon, was a Big 33 player.

Sponsors and host families are still available, by calling Big 33 at 717-200-3378. To date, this year’s major sponsors include: Dauphin County, The U.S. Marine Corps, Walmart, Adidas, Capital Blue Cross, UPMC,

Mid Penn Bank, Drayer Physical Therapy, Peyton Walker Foundation, Member’s First, NFL Teams across the country and more. 

Big 33 organizers were joined today by Pennsylvania Big 33 Team Coach Mark Lyons of Central Valley School District and some of this year's Big 33 football players who were announced, the program's buddies and cheerleaders. Some well-known alumni include: Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, Ricky Waters, Ben Roethlisberger, Kyle Brady and Jordan Hill.

For tickets and more information about the game, which will kick off at 2 p.m. on Monday, Memorial Day, May 27th, at Central Dauphin School District’s Landis Field and include a pre-game fan experience and community festival, go to www.big33.org.  Big 33 partners said Memorial Day is expected to be extra special offering a Pre-Game Fan Fest, a cross- fitness military competition called “Murph,” named after a decorated military hero and Navy Seal Michael Murphy, and capped off by the Big 33 Football Classic. Tickets for the football game are expected to go on sale April 1. For updates follow Big 33 on Facebook @Big33 Football Classic, Instagram @PSFCA Big 33 Football Classic or on Twitter @PSFCABig33.