After 21 years, Maryland loses its return to Big 33 Classic, 58-27

Pennsylvania scores the first 28 points; Gilman QB Cockerille, a Terps recruit, leads rally

  • Maryland's Kyle Levere can't quite reach a pass as Pennsylvania's Najee Goode defends during the second quarter of the Big 33 Classic.
Maryland's Kyle Levere can't quite reach a pass… (Joe Hermitt, The Patriot…)
June 15, 2013|By Seth Boster, The Baltimore Sun

HERSHEY, Pa. -- If its first few minutes returning to the Big 33 Classic were any indicator, Maryland didn't belong.

Returning as Pennsylvania's opponent in the annual high school football all-star game for the first time in 21 years, Maryland opened the game at Hersheypark Stadium by allowing Tyler Boyd to take back the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.

The hosts scored the first 28 points in a 58-27 victory, as Maryland used the rest of the night finding its footing in the territory it had left in 1992.

"This is a big deal to the people of Pennsylvania, and after 20 years has gone by our kids don't really understand it," said Maryland's head coach Dave Mencarini from Quince Orchard. "I think after this experience they'll get it, and going forward, the teams of Maryland from here on out, they'll understand the importance of the game."

After Boyd's return, Maryland fumbled its ensuing kick return. Pennsylvania took just two minutes to build a 21-0 lead with a diving touchdown catch from Boyd and then an interception return for a touchdown off a botched running back pass play.

After his first full drive continued into the second quarter, Michigan State-bound quarterback Damion Terry took nine plays to put Pennsylvania ahead 28-0, an advantage that would prove too great for Maryland to surmount.

Perhaps fittingly, the glimmer of hope for Maryland was future Terps quarterback Shane Cockerille, who led a brief rally to bring the game to within 10. The dual-threat Gilman graduate finished 13-for-28 passing with two touchdowns, and he added 34 yards and a score on the ground.

"It's a great honor," Cockerille said. "Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Ben Roethlisberger all played quarterback in this game, then me coming out here [scoring] three touchdowns, it was a great honor and great experience."

Cockerille, set to redshirt for the Terps next year, looked to future college teammate DeAndre Lane (Catonsville) to bring Maryland back. A 34-yard connection between the two set up Cockerille's short floater to Kyle Levere (Calvert Hall) for the team's first score.

On their next possession, Cockerille found Lane for 17 yards in front of the end zone. Cockerille scored one play later with a rush up the middle. Lane, making a transition from running back to slot receiver, led the team with five catches for 92 yards.

"It was a little something," Lane said. "A little sneak preview. There's more to come."

Boyd, the Pittsburgh-bound receiver who was the game's Most Valuable Player, finished with two receiving touchdowns and a rushing score, and he also passed for a touchdown on a 68-yard bomb.

Cockerille, Maryland's MVP, countered by connecting with Franklin graduate Reggie Ellis, who bobbled and caught the 32-yard pass, tiptoeing before the pylon as Maryland's deficit would be cut to 30-20 an extra point later. Ellis, an All-Metro selection headed to Division-II Shepherd (W.Va.), finished with 93 yards receiving.

"Going down early like that is hard," Cockerille said. "I just wanted to go out there, make plays, show them what Maryland football is all about."

Cockerille's day was finished at the half, by which point Pennsylvania had a 37-20 lead. Maryland got to within 10 early in the second half, with a four-play drive ending in a quarterback keeper from Atholton's Luke Casey.

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