The phone rings Wednesday night in Doug Duvall's hotel room in Harrisburg, Pa.
On the first ring, he answers, "Big 33, this is the winning side."
Duvall, head coach of Maryland's Big 33 football team, which will face Pennsylvania's all-stars tonight at 7 at Hersheypark Stadium, said he and the team say this year is Maryland's turn to win.
"The kids have great attitudes. We think we are going to win," DuVall said. "They are the magic guys."
Even the players, selected from among the best of the 1991 class, apparently feel a touch of the supernatural.
"It just seems like there's magic in the air," said Ricky Rowe, who played for Duvall at Wilde Lake. "He [Duvall] says we can win this year. Everything up here is going right."
Gilman's Jamal Cox said: "We have a lot of confidence that we can do it. This is the magic year."
Maryland has not taken a Big 33 game since 1987, when it won, 26-22. Maryland has a 1-5 Big 33 lifetime record.
"Those years don't matter," Springbrook's John Kennedy said. "It's our time to shine in the spotlight. We won't get this chance ever again."
Most of the players say this year's team is bigger and strongethan it has been in the past.
"The feeling is that there is a lot more talent," said Lenard Marcus, a defensive back from Poly.
"In past years, it was size and Pennsylvania's superior team play, but we match pound-to-pound with them and we also have the speed to stay with them," he said.
Said Duvall: "We've got big guys, like Josh Austin [6 feet 3, 280 pounds, from Forest Park], and he's got six buddies around 290 pounds. We've got the beef this year."
Defensive tackle Daryl Smith of C. Milton Wright agrees: "I think weight-wise we've got them beat."
David Thomas (Good Counsel), Byron Turner (Aberdeen), Clarence Collins (Bishop McNamara) and Emile Palmer (Fairmont Heights) all weigh more than 285 pounds.
But Thomas said Maryland's desire to win is the biggest $H difference between this year's team and the other ones.
"This year's squad wants it more," Thomas said. "It's a good group of guys working together."
Duvall's team has been practicing twice a day all week and has been working with a run-and-shoot offense.
"The defense is clicking, and the offense is coming together," Smith said.
Between practices and scheduled activities with United Cerebral Palsy children, the Maryland team has kept a busy schedule.
"You don't have time to breathe," Kennedy said, "but that's thwhole excitement of it."
Despite the team's confidence and personnel, Thomas said Maryland is still considered the underdog.
"The papers up here are saying we don't have a chance, but my host family is going for Maryland all the way," Thomas said.
"Everyone takes it real serious up here. It's almost like the Super Bowl," Smith said.
"Once you get up here, you see how big it really is," Cox said. "I really believe this is the Super Bowl of high school sports."
Maryland vs. Pa.
1985: Pennsylvania 17, Maryland 14
1986: Pennsylvania 21, Maryland 7
1987: Maryland 26, Pennsylvania 22
1988: Pennsylvania 21, Maryland 13
1989: Pennsylvania 29, Maryland 19
1990: Pennsylvania 42, Maryland 28
Facts and figures
Who: Maryland vs. Pennsylvania, in a game featuring high school all-stars who graduated this spring.
When: 7 tonight
Where: Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, Pa.
Radio: WYST (1010 AM), WINX (1600 AM), 6:40 p.m.
TV: Channel 11, 7 p.m.
Tickets: Hersheypark Box Office (717) 534-3911. General admission $5, reserved seats $8.
Directions: Interstate 83 north to Harrisburg to Route 322 east. Follow signs for Hersheypark.