Monday, June 18, 2012

The "Big 33" Game

The Ohio beat Pennsylvania for the fourth time in a row last Saturday night, 24-21, in overtime in the 55th annual "Big 33" Football Classic at Hershey Park Stadium.

EJ Junior from Middletown/ Cincinnati and Tyler O'Connor from (Lima Central Catholic/Michigan State) scored touchdowns in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21-21. Gahanna's Tyler Grassman kicked a 39 yard field goal in overtime to win the game. Tyler will continue his career kicking and punting at Buffalo. Also wanted to mention, that Nana Kyeremeh (Thomas Worthington/West Virginia) had two picks. The pick in overtime sealed the victory for Ohio.

Nana Kyeremeh represents the sometimes silliness of college football coaches with regards to recruiting. One the fastest football players in the Class of 2012. At least 5'11. A 3.2GPA. Excellent hips and a very tough corner. Because he wore black glasses at times and spoke intelligently, some recruiters questioned his toughness. Because he played for a rebuilding Thomas Worthington football team, some recruiters just how good he was. If he were at Glenville or McKinley, everybody would have recruited him hard. I applaude him.

The real purpose of this blog is to praise the work of head coach Bill Albright and his "Big 33" coaching staff. Selecting the team in December and January is actually the easiest part of the assignment. Virtually everybody wants to play in the game in January. High school coaches get excited to have a player nominated. Possibly, the hardest part is finding replacements for the earlier selections who start dropping off of the team.

Some excuses are solid, but some can sometimes be very humorous. One parent told me , when their son declined a chance to play, "they were afraid that their son would get injured." Their son is a big lineman and should be red-shirted this fall. Some players leave early for spring ball, which is okay, but they should make the coaching staff aware of their plans before they are nominated. Some are still recuperating from injuries. Some just want to rest, or go on vacation. Actually, to some degree, I agree with the vacation thing, because family time is huge to me.

Coach Albright called me just before they were leaving for Hershey. He needed a DE. I gave him a name and, thank goodness, the young man was excited to play in the game.

Being able to find replacements and sometimes finding replacements for replacements and still winning four years in a row, speaks highly of the level of high school football played in Ohio. It also speaks highly of the quality of the young men who at first are not selected, but will come back to play as  replacements.

Again, hats off to Bill Albright and the coaching staff. So much preparation goes into this game. Behind the scene, I am alittle involved in this game. Good players with high character are really important to the overall success of the game. Thanks, "Big 33" team.

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