HARRISBURG — The statistics from Monday’s 62nd annual Big 33 Football Classic at Landis Field won’t begin to tell the story for Cade Pribula.
Pribula, a star quarterback at Central York High School and a future Delaware Blue Hen, was 6 of 14 passing for 73 yards in a game where Pennsylvania shut out Maryland 21-0.
For Pribula, however, it was about so much more than just stats.
“It was incredible,” he said of the experience. “I truly believe I made friends for life. I got some guys' phone numbers and we plan to stay in touch and it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
Pribula was one of just two quarterbacks chosen for the Pennsylvania team, and with good reason. The Panthers signal caller, who is set to graduate high school later this week, set league records with 65 touchdown and and 6,782 passing yards in his career. He also rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns in his prep career.
No matter his final Big 33 statistics, Pribula wasn’t the least bit disappointed. He helped Pennsylvania to its fourth win in five years over Maryland.
“It was just so much fun,” he said. “It’s such an honor. To be able to work with these guys who I believe are going to be future NFL players is a great experience.”
Buddy Program: He also lauded the Big 33 Buddy Program. The program, which has been going since 1985, pairs players with special-needs children for the week of practice as well as the game.
The program is intended to “develop memories through opportunities for exceptional kids to share time with their athletes both on and off the practice field during game week.”
Pribula was paired with a young man named Aaron Heim.
“We got to work with the buddies as well as some veterans and it’s just a really special thing to experience,” he said. “You don’t get opportunities like that very often and you don’t just get to have an impact on your life, hopefully you can impact someone else’s as well.”
The game was not without its highlights for Pribula. He had one of the plays of the game off a broken play that led to a long, downfield connection with Bishop McDevitt’s Nazir Burnett, a Georgia Tech signee.
“I knew the game was going to be a battle between Pennsylvania and Maryland,” he said of the speed and intensity of the game. “I knew they were going to fight, because they were kind of the underdogs. But I knew at the end that we would win because we have more talent and we made the plays when we needed to.”
Though it was his last time on a high school field, Pribula isn’t looking back, but rather thinking ahead toward what’s to come in his career.
“This still doesn’t feel like a high school game,” he said. “This feels like the first game of college, really. ... Everyone out on that field is Division I. So rather than saying this is my last high school game, I’d say this is my first college game.”
As for his college career? Pribula couldn’t overstate his excitement about playing on the Football Championship Subdivision level for the Hens.
“I can’t wait. I’ve been dreaming of it my whole life,” he said.
Reach Clay Sauertieg at firstname.lastname@example.org.