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WPIAL Sees Big Increase as 19 Players Selected to Play in Big 33 Game

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Nineteen players will represent the WPIAL as part of the Pennsylvania team in the Big 33 game, the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association announced on Thursday.

That makes for significant participation from the western part of the state, which had 10 players selected for the 2020 game and 11 in 2019.

Representing the WPIAL will be Connellsville running back Ky’Ron Craggette, Central Catholic offensive lineman Grant Cullen, North Allegheny linebacker Khalil Dinkins, Union offensive lineman Aaron Gunn, Central Valley defensive back Stephon Hall, Pine-Richland offensive lineman Harrison Hayes, Central Catholic defensive end Bralen Henderson, Peters Township linebacker Corban Hondru, Beaver Falls running back Josh Hough, Pine-Richland wide receiver Eli Jochem, Montour offensive lineman Cameron McLaurin, Canon-McMillan offensive lineman Connor McMahon, Peters Township defensive back Donovan McMillon, Pine-Richland linebacker Luke Miller, Pine-Richland quarterback Cole Spencer, Central Catholic running back Eddy Tillman, Central Valley athlete Myles Walker, Elizabeth Forward defensive end Chase Whatton and Thomas Jefferson athlete Preston Zandier.

Most of the players have already signed with colleges for the 2021 season, including Dinkins to Penn State, Gunn to Louisville, Hall to Pitt and McMillon to Florida.

Some of the top prospects in Western Pennsylvania are not on the list. Four-star Gateway defensive back Derrick Davis is already enrolled at LSU, four-star defensive lineman and Pitt commit Elliott Donald opted out of the 2020 season and four-star West Mifflin defensive end Nahki Johnson is already enrolled at Pitt. 

Four-star Washington defensive tackle Andre Porter (Maryland), three star Baldwin defensive tackle Dorien Ford (Pitt) and three-star linebacker Nathan Hoke (BYU) are also not on the roster.

Hall is not the only Pitt commit on the team, as Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia) defensive back Javon McIntyre is on the team, as well. Pitt had just one player selected to the 2020 game, walk-on linebacker Gus Sunseri. Aliquippa wide receiver Will Gipson played in the 2019 game.

The 2020 version of he game was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvania shut out Maryland, 19-0 in 2019. The team from Pennsylvania has been playing a team from Maryland since 2013. The game has also featured opponents from Ohio and Texas. Pennsylvania has won four of the last five contests and five of seven against Maryland since 2013.

The 2021 Big 33 will be played at 1 p.m. on Monday, May 31 at Landis Field in Lower Paxton Township, Pa.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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