Big 33

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Schmidt Picked to Helm PA Squad in 2006 Big 33

Schmidt to coach at Big 33

(Courier article from December, 2005)

Mark Schmidt needed that distraction. Needed something to take his mind off the “disappointing” end to Neshaminy’s 10-2 season in the District One Class AAAA semifinals.

“When you sit around and you analyze it that much, you can get awfully frustrated,” Schmidt said.

That needed distraction arrived in the form of a telephone call and an honor from his coaching peers gathering in Hershey this weekend.

Schmidt will be the head coach of the Pennsylvania squad at the 49th annual Big 33 All-Star football clash on Saturday, June 19, 2006 at Hersheypark Stadium.

“I view this game as a tremendous honor and a great responsibility that we’ve been entrusted to uphold,” Schmidt said. “We have some great football players here in Pennsylvania and we’re going to get them prepared to play a good football game.”

The Pennsylvania squad will meet Ohio in the annual clash. The game was moved up to June from its traditionally late July date to avoid conflicts with the start of college summer schools. Those summer school courses robbed the 2005 classic of some of its biggest players, including Conwell-Egan running back Steve Slaton (now at West Virginia).

Schmidt – who won the 2001 state championship with the Redskins and advanced to the Class AAAA title game in 2004 – joins some of the elite names in Pennsylvania football as head coaches in the annual classic. Two of those coaches – CB West coach Mike Pettine and Berwick coach George Curry – are among the people that Schmidt regularly calls.

“It’s just something that’s incredible to be a part of.” Schmidt said.

The next step in the selection process will take place in late January at the annual Pennsylvania Football Coaches Asssociation’s meeting at State College. At that time, the teams for the Big 33 and the East-West All-Star Classic will be divided up. (North Penn coach Dick Beck is on the selection committee for the Big 33 game, along with Downingtown West coach Mike Milano.)

Neshaminy had a fine season at 10-2, but the aftertaste from a 45-38 home loss to Downingtown East is still there.

“We had a fine season,” Schmidt said. “We won our league (with a 7-0 record) and the kids did a lot of good things. But there’s obviously that feeling of wishing that it ended differently.”

Kevin Cooney can be reached at 215-949-4209 or