Maryland heard the talk but the players from the Old Line State walked the walk and came away with a thrilling 31-24 double-overtime victory Saturday against Pennsylvania in the 57th annual Big 33 Football Classic at Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, Pa.
McDonogh defensive back Josh Woods said there were naysayers who had called the Maryland team “soft” so that provided some motivation for the visitors.
“We’re kind of known as the lacrosse state which means we’re soft I guess,” said Woods, who registered three interceptions including a pick-six and was named Maryland’s Player of the Game. “That’s what we heard. We heard that a lot up here from the players but I guess as a defense we came out and we knew we had to stick it to them so it’s a great win for Maryland to put us back on top of PA.”
Woods, who signed with the University of Maryland, returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter to help Team Maryland take a 24-0 lead with 6:13 remaining in the period.
Pennsylvania scored 24 unanswered points and tied the game at 24 on a 29-yard field goal by Penn State recruit Joey Julius with 1:19 remaining in the fourth period.
Woods came through in the clutch once again, registering his third interception of the game on the final play of regulation.
Both teams failed to score in the first overtime session but former Westlake quarterback and Maryland recruit Antwaine Carter connected with former Milford Mill wide receiver and Monmouth recruit Reggie White, Jr. for a 25-yard touchdown.
Former Northwest linebacker Rasheed Gillis helped the Jaguars win a 4A state championship in December and was also instrumental in Maryland’s historic win over Pennsylvania in the Big 33.
Gillis, a Shepherd recruit, intercepted Pennsylvania quarterback Mark Pyles to secure Maryland’s first Big 33 win since 1991.
“It meant a lot to me,” said Gillis, “because I still felt like I had something to prove and by beating Pennsylvania it proves that Maryland can play football.”