BRADFORD, Pa. - The handshakes at midfield complete, the players from the New York and Pennsylvania teams retreated to their respective locker rooms at Parkway Field on Saturday night.
It was nearly 10:15 p.m. - the 40th annual Don Raabe Big 30 Charities Classic had played out for nearly 3hours - but one member of the victorious Pennsylvania team didn't want the evening to end.
"Where are the fireworks?'' he asked to no one in particular.
Ryan Schutte, right, a Southwestern Central School graduate, fights to get off the line of scrimmage in Saturday’s 40th annual Big 30 Don Raabe Charities Classic all-star football game at Bradford, Pa. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
One wanted to remind him they'd already taken place.
With an estimated 4,000 people looking on, Pennsylvania scored 35 unanswered points to post a convincing, 53-12, victory over New York. Behind the quarterbacking talents of Port Allegany's Matt Bodamer and Warren's Austin Jerman, the team south of the border racked up 426 yards passing and four touchdowns in a no-huddle, West-Coast offense that was simply too powerful.
"Obviously, the outcome wasn't what we wanted,'' said New York quarterback Tanner John (Salamanca), who threw a 71-yard touchdown pass, "but we went out there and had fun. At the end of the day, the game was for charity and it was fun. It was different than any atmosphere that any player has experienced. I think it was a good step for the guys who are going to (play at) the next level.''
New York linebacker Peter Trathen (Southwestern), who will leave next week for Ithaca College, agreed.
"I figured it would be better for me to get experience and get back in the swing of things, so when I started football at Ithaca I wouldn't get hurt, because the contact there is at a higher level. This was kind of a warm-up."
For others, though, it was a finale.
Randy Daugharthy, an Eisenhower High School graduate, is a Big 30 alum and was in attendance Saturday night for only the second time since he played in the 1982 game. Although it's been more than 30 years since he put on a helmet and pads, Daugharthy, a cornerback for the Knights in that era, still has fond memories of car-pooling to practice with his Big 30 teammates, establishing new friendships and making a tackle or two when the lights shined the brightest the night of the game.
"We really had a solid defense,'' Daugharthy recalled. "We gelled really fast. I remember one play down in the corner - New York was getting desperate and just going for long bombs - and (me and a teammate) both hit this guy at the same time and the guy dropped it. It was perfect timing."
And, despite the lopsided score Saturday night, the New York players seemed to have a perfect time on an unseasonably cool evening on the Bradford High School campus.
"I got to meet some really nice people,'' said New York cornerback Sam Agnew (Cattaraugus-Little Valley). " It's been a great time in my life.''
It's likely the response would be the same from every player. Of the 37 players on the New York roster, those from The Post-Journal's circulation area included: John, Trathen, Agnew, Jordon Dowiasz (Randolph), Nick Munella (Frewsburg), Matt Booth (Cattaraugus-Little Valley), Cameron Caputi (Salamanca), Greg Knier (Ellicottville), Nick Fardink (Frewsburg), Jacob Caldwell (Frewsburg), Ryan Styles (Randolph), Patrick Caldwell (Frewsburg), William Murphy (Ellicottville), Dakota John (Salamanca), Ryan Schutte (Southwestern), Dylan Faust (Randolph) and Storm Wilson (Ellicottville).
"I made a bunch of new friends,'' Dowiasz said. "I guess what I'm going to take from this is, basically, 'Get out and meet new people.'''
Asked what he plans to do with his navy blue jersey, the 2012 Post-Journal Player of the Year didn't hesitate with a response.
"Probably frame it,'' he said.