HERSHEY PENNSYLVANI — HERSHEY, Pa. -- Judging by last night's results, the end of Maryland's eight-year high school football rivalry with Pennsylvania has come at the right time.
Pennsylvania wasted little time turning the Big 33 Football Classic into a mismatch, scoring touchdowns on its first three possessions to set the tone for a 38-0 romp before 17,114 at Hersheypark Stadium. It was the largest margin of victory in the history of the series, which Pennsylvania won, 6-2
Pennsylvania had only nine first downs, but averaged 8.9 yards a play to out-gain Maryland 399-40. Maryland managed minus-13 yards rushing and just three first downs, including one by penalty.
Maryland was hoping to win its second straight game and third overall against Pennsylvania, which has signed a three-year contract to play Ohio in the Big 33 game. But in the game's first six minutes, it was obvious Maryland had no chance, as it crumbled under Pennsylvania's superior speed, size and big-play capability.
Wide receiver Anthony Hardy was the chief culprit, beginning with the game's first play from scrimmage. Pennsylvania quarterback Scott Weaver hit Hardy with a perfect pass along the left sideline. Hardy then pulled away from the Maryland secondary to complete a 91-yard touchdown. And 40 seconds after the opening kickoff, Pennsylvania led 6-0.
Maryland quickly turned the ball over on downs, and Pennsylvania extended its lead by driving 58 yards in four plays. The big blow was a 41-yard strike from Weaver to Jay Jones that moved the ball to the Maryland 11. Two plays later, Weaver rolled to his right and ran untouched into the end zone. He then passed to Scott Florence for a two-point conversion that put Maryland in a 14-0 hole with 7:42 left in the first quarter.
The game turned into a blowout two minutes later, when Hardy struck again. He caught Robert St. Pierre's 38-yard punt in stride near the right sideline, cut inside, broke a tackle, and ran 74 yards for a touchdown to give Pennsylvania a 21-0 lead with 5:45 left in the period.
"I thought they really hurt us with the first play," said Jerry Franks, Maryland's coach. "They had five plays and they had 21 points on the board. That's demoralizing, disappointing, and any other adjective you can think of."
Darrell Harding added an eight-yard touchdown run to make it 28-0 with 5:12 left in the first half.
By halftime, Pennsylvania had 211 net yards to Maryland's 43. Maryland did not pick up a first down until nine seconds remained in the first half.
Weaver completed five of nine passes for 201 yards. Brandon Bailey completed five of seven for 74 yards. Harding led Pennsylvania rushers with 48 yards on 11 carries.
For Maryland, Richard Snowden rushed for 23 yards on 11 carries. Jack Sykes (Crossland) led the team with eight tackles.
Brent Guyton (Wilde Lake) had five.