Topic Background

September 15, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who- The PNC Big 33 Football Classic promotes excellence in students and the community by involving players, cheerleaders, buddies, host families, and scholarship winners in a variety of activities during game week.

What- Originating in 1957, the PNC Big 33 Football Classic is one of the nation’s finest scholastic All-Star Football Games highlighting showcasing Pennsylvania and Ohio ‘s outstanding high school athletes. Now entering its 54th year, the classic is often described as “The Super Bowl of High School Football.”

When- The Big 33 Football Classic is played on a Saturday evening in mid-June. Last year’s game was played on Saturday, June 18, 2011 with kick off at 7:00 p.m.

Where- The Hershey Park Complex and Stadium are used throughout the week for various activities which is primarily where the Big 33 takes place. For one week, the players relocate to host families which live in the Hershey, Pennsylvania or Hummelstown, Pennsylvania area. Practice is practiced at Lower Dauphin High School, which is located in Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, and the game itself is played at Hershey Park Stadium in Hershey, Pennsylvania.


The Buddy Program: Players from Pennsylvania and Ohio are matched with a member of the “Buddy” team, a group of young people with exceptional needs. Together, players and buddies enjoy memorable experiences which will last a lifetime by sharing a lunch, the banquet, and game introductions.

            The “Buddy Team,” started in 1985, is a dynamic part of the Big 33 activities.  The team is comprised of over 200 special needs kids. During game week, the buddies are paired with players, cheerleaders, and coaches. Memories are developed through opportunities for exceptional kids to share time with their player, cheerleader or coach both on and off the practice field during the week preceding the game. This program has proven to be one of the most enjoyable, memorable and rewarding aspects of the Big 33 program, and has come to epitomize the goal set by the Big 33 Football Classic:  to create lifetime treasured memories for both the “buddies and the Big 33 Players, Cheerleaders, and Coaches.” The success of the “Buddy Team” program is marked by the fact that both player and “Buddy” have so much to give.  It may be a simple souvenir or that final hug, but the memories of the Big 33 week last forever.

During the Big 33 Week, players from both teams join a local host family. Relationships are formed which endure beyond the collegiate career of the player, creating a new “home away from home.”

All Star Cheerleaders: 60 to 68 cheerleaders are selected from Central Pennsylvania high schools on the basis of ability and spirit. The squad also has a full week of practice and community activities, culminating with a spectacular halftime performance.

Big 33 Honors Banquet: The Big 33 Week culminates with the annual awards banquet, held on the eve of the game. Sponsors, Buddies, Cheerleaders, Players, Host Families, Parents and Special Guests enjoy an evening of fellowship and camaraderie

Youth Clinics: Both Big 33 cheerleaders and the Pennsylvania team teach and interact with local youth through this interaction. Dreams are created.

Academic/Technical Scholarship Winners: Every academic/technical scholarship winner in Pennsylvania and Ohio is invited to the game to be honored as part of pregame activities.“It’s Academic.”·

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