HARRISBURG, Pa. – This past weekend, Central Clarion’s Cutter Boggess and Ethan Burford, Brookville’s Jack Krug, and Karns City’s Nathan Waltman each turned in strong days for the West Team in the first-ever Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association (PSFCA) Class 1-3A East-West Game.
(Article and interviews made possible by Dave McClaine, Photos courtesy of Randy Boggess)
(From left to right: Ethan Burford, Jack Krug, Nathan Waltman, and Cutter Boggess)
The contest was held at Landis Field in Harrisburg and consisted of some of Pennsylvania’s top small-school talent. Prior to this year, the PSFCA had two statewide All-Star Games, the Big33 Game, which a Pennsylvania vs Maryland contest, as well as the East-West Game, consisting of the top Pennsylvania players from all classifications. This year, the PSFCA held two East-West Games, one for Classes A-AAA, and one for 4A-6A.
Though the West lost in a close 17-10 game, D9’s top talent showed out, making big contributions on both sides of the ball. Unfortunately, Keystone’s Nick Weaver was unable to participate due to injury despite also being chosen for the West squad.
Burford hauled in one catch, a big thirty-nine-yard catch and run. Describing the play, he said, “I ran a wheel route right up the sideline, and quarterback Ameer Dudley (from Central Valley) found me wide open and let the ball fly. I had to come back to the ball for the catch, and then I side-stepped the oncoming defender, making him miss the tackle. I [then] stepped out of bounds shortly after trying to make a cut upfield. The (thirty-nine) yard catch put the West team deep in the East territory.”
Boggess had a big defensive game, tallying seven tackles (4 solo, 3 assisted), including one for a loss to go with two deflections.
Krug threw for 125 of the West’s 202 passing yards, with his biggest play coming late in the first quarter. Dudley lined up at quarterback and handed the ball off to Krug on a fake sweep. Krug then threw the ball back to a streaking Dudley, who hauled in the pass and ran for a seventy-five-yard touchdown to give the West squad an early 6-0 lead.
The circus play got Burford fired up: “My favorite part of the game was when we ran a trick play on our first drive to score an 80-yard touchdown and take the lead.”
Boggess also enjoyed the trickeration. “I think my favorite play of the game was the trick play when Jack threw the ball back to Ameer for a touchdown.”
The East tied the score at 7-all at 5:02 in the second on a two-yard run up the middle by Steelton-Highspire’s Odell Greene and the point after by Macrae Plummer from Anville-Cleona.
Waltman was a rock on defense all day, notching his biggest play shortly before the half. The East was on the West one-yard line, looking for a touchdown with time running down in the period. Waltman stuffed a goalline run attempt, breaking through for a tackle in the backfield, forcing the East team to kick a field goal. The three-point play gave the East team a 10-7 halftime lead.
The East moved their lead to 17-7 on a twelve-yard scoring pass from Riverside’s Johnny Gilchrist to Salisbury’s Chad Parton, giving the East team a 10 point lead after an extra point by Aiden Cirulli from Wyomissing.
The game’s final points came on a forty-two-yard field goal by the West team, cutting the deficit to 17-10 with 6:13 left in the game.
Boggess felt that the game was a tremendously positive experience.
“This game was great to experience. It allowed me to see what college football would be like. It also gave me a chance to make friends with people I would have never met and receive coaching that will stick with me through college.” He added, “It was great to get be able to experience a game like this with one of my best friends (Ethan). It was also nice to have other guys from our area play in the game with us. It was great to have them on our side too.”
Burford shared, “Overall, it was a great experience and I am humbled to represent the west side of the state. This game gave me a good idea of what the next level of football is like.”
“It was also nice to have some guys from the other (District Nine League) on the West team. I think that we (Ethan Burford, Cutter Boggess, Nathan Waltman, Jack Krug) all played very well and each of us made some big plays. It was nice having a few guys from our area represent our district.”
Other players from around District Nine and Ten who participated in the game for the West Squad were: Clearfield’s Zane Ignatio on the offensive line and Nick Domico at tight end; Wilmington’s Weston Phanco on the defensive line, and Ethan Susen at defensive back. Slippery Rock head coach Larry Wendereusz was an assistant coach.
The East also won the 4-6A Game, 38-13, while Pennsylvania defeated Maryland 20-0 in the Big33.
Congratulations to Ethan, Cutter, Nathan, Jack, Nick, and all the others from District Nine and District Ten selected to the West Squad.