The first Chesapeake Football Classic all-star game, betwee Maryland high school seniors against Northern Virginia's top players, became official yesterday.
The Chesapeake Classic, to be played July 24 at the University of Maryland's Byrd Stadium at 7:30 p.m., is the result of six months of negotiations between the Maryland Scholastic Football Coaches Association and the Northern Virginia Football Coaches Association.
"The exposure our high school players and programs received through our involvement with the Big 33 game with Pennsylvania during the last eight years was tremendous, and many kids were rewarded with college scholarship opportunities," said Jerry Franks, Chesapeake Classic director and former Northern football coach.
"We wanted to continue that experience by hosting an all-star event, and with Virginia being right across the Potomac River, it was a natural set-up."
When Pennsylvania, holding a 6-2 game advantage in the Big 33 series, did not extend the contract with Maryland after last July's game, instead signing a three-year deal with Ohio, the MSFCA contacted Virginia officials in the fall.
Although the bordering state passed at participating in the game because of an existing in-state all-star contest on July 17, Northern Virginia officials listened to the Chesapeake Classic proposal and agreed to a one-year deal.
"But we are looking forward to make this a long-term, annual event with Virginia," Franks said.
Linganore High School's Dave Carruthers will serve as Maryland's head coach and will be assisted by Wheaton's Jack Freeman, C. M. Wright's Steve Harwood, Crossland's Larry Layman and McDonogh's Mike Working. West Springfield's Frank Crenetti will coach Virginia.
Arundel lineman Richard Abrams (Maryland) is one of 35 high school seniors selected to the Maryland team after more than 110 players attended a tryout two weeks ago at the University of Maryland.
"It's a big honor to play in this first all-star game, and I just hope this will be a great memory for both sides," said Abrams, 6 feet 4, 250 pounds. "But this game's all about fun, having one last chance to go at it as a high school player."
Other Baltimore-area players on the Maryland roster include: Wilde Lake wide receiver Greg Butler (Kent State), Loyola lineman Cale Christensen (Fork Union), Severna Park lineman Chad Debeau (Delaware), C. M. Wright linebacker Brad Fordyce (Springfield), Wilde Lake defensive back Donald Gibson, C. M. Wright defensive back Chris Gill (James Madison), North County wide receiver Mike Quarles, Aberdeen lineman Kevin Simons and Hammond lineman Danny Boone.
As for the game's rules, Franks and Northern Virginia representative Francis Dall, of Lake Braddock High School, studied the Big 33 and all-star games between Florida and Georgia as well as those involving North Carolina and South Carolina.
"We've got some rules set up where they have to play man-to-man coverage in the secondary to make it exciting for the passing game," Carruthers said.
A wide-open, passing offense could favor the Chesapeake Classic hosts.
Maryland's quarterback will be Pallotti's 6-foot-2, 182-pound Jason Boseck, who committed to play for Columbia University and becomes the third quarterback in nine years from the small Laurel Catholic high school to play for the Maryland all-stars.
"The Ray brothers, Mark and Craig, played in the other [Big 33] game. It's part of our tradition at Pallotti, where we're called 'Quarterback High,' " said Boseck, who threw for 2,460 yards and 28 touchdowns last fall.
Players from Maryland and Virginia will spend a busy week, beginning July 17, that will include more than practices and the game.
Trips are scheduled to a Baltimore Orioles game at Camden Yards, a visit with President Clinton at the White House as well as the carrying on of a Big 33 tradition of players talking, playing and working with handicapped children and visiting Children's Hospital.