The Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) canceled all major events surrounding Memorial Day weekend. These public events included the Big 33 Football Classic, East West Game, a first-ever high school combine, USA Football 1st Down Clinic and the Big 33 Fan Experience.
“It is with deep regret that we had to cancel,” PSFCA executive director Garry Cathell said.
“Due to the uncertainty of the weeks ahead with the coronavirus constraints placed upon individuals, schools, families and the organizations and businesses that help make this holiday weekend one of the best in the country, we cannot move forward in holding these events. Our top priority is the health, safety and welfare of all of our participants, families, workers, sponsors and fans.”
The PSFCA is, however, exploring ways to still honor the players, cheerleaders and buddies selected to compete in the Big 33 contest.
“We want each of them to know that they should be extremely proud to have been chosen and that they are now part of our amazing Big 33 and special East West families,” Cathell said. “In addition, our best wishes go out to all graduating student athletes across the commonwealth and our country, who are now unable to finish their high school careers as planned.”
Cathell said the coronavirus pandemic is “unprecedented” and measures taken be his organization were critical to protect everyone’s health, safety and welfare. He said the PSFCA is committed and looking forward to planning a “better than ever” 2021 game and festivities.
Josh Casilli of McMurray was one of the area athletes selected to participate in the Big 33 contest, which was to pit the best in the state against the top football players from Maryland.
The Peters Township senior is a University of Pennsylvania recruit. The 6-1, 174-pound wide receiver caught 49 passes for 635 yards last autumn in leading the Indians to the WPIAL Class 5A championship game.
The Almanac MVP and Observer-Reporter Player of the Year finished with a school-record 22 touchdowns, seven of which measured 50 yards or more.
In addition to his passing numbers, he ranked second on the team in rushing with 347 yards on 34 carries for a 10.2-yard average. He also excelled in the Indians secondary and on special teams.