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Pennsylvania stars roll to 3d straight over Ohio

North Catholic's Shahid Paulhill led a hard-hitting defense as Pa. cruised, 31-16.

North Catholic defensive lineman Shahid Paulhill was a regular visitor to the Ohio backfield in last night's Big 33 game.
North Catholic defensive lineman Shahid Paulhill was a regular visitor to the Ohio backfield in last night's Big 33 game.Read more

HERSHEY, Pa. - High school all-star games can present a glimpse of what to expect from athletes who might play in college.

With that in mind, here is a name to remember: Shahid Paulhill.

The 6-foot-3, 291-pound defensive lineman from North Catholic was known to Philadelphia Catholic League football fans, and Temple University followers.

But Paulhill got more attention last night in the 51st annual Big 33 Football Classic at HersheyPark Stadium. The game pitted Pennsylvania's top high school seniors against the best seniors in Ohio and Paulhill made it his highlight reel.

He had two sacks, five tackles and four quarterback pressures as Pennsylvania won, 31-16.

Pennsylvania, which has won the last three games, leads the series, 12-9.

The Pennsylvania all-stars displayed plenty of fireworks and some hard hits.

Pennsylvania scored on four of its first five possessions and led 24-0 at halftime.

If this game was a glimpse of the future, the University of Pittsburgh will become a Big East contender.

Pitt recruits quarterback Tino Sunseri, wideout Jonathan Baldwin and multi-purpose player Cameron Saddler accounted for most of Pennsylvania's fireworks.

Sunseri completed 6 of 12 passes for 189 yards and three scores.

Saddler had two receptions for 84 yards and two scores. The 5-7 speedster also carried twice for 14 yards. Baldwin had three receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Baldwin scored on a 10-yard pass from Sunseri that made it a 7-0 contest with 9:00 left in the first quarter. Two possessions later, Sunseri threw a 5-yard TD to Saddler, making it a 14-0 contest with 1:07 remaining in the first quarter. That play was set up by Sunseri's 50-yard scamper to the 1.

Saddler later caught a 79-yard touchdown pass from Sunseri to give Pennsylvania a 31-10 lead with 9:08 remaining.

Mike Shanahan, another Panthers recruit, also shined. The Norwin wideout caught three passes for 70 yards.

Paulhill, a Temple recruit, was originally left off the Pennsylvania roster.

Now 17, Paulhill has only played football for two seasons. A starting center on North Catholic's PCL basketball championship team, he envisioned a future in hoops.

"The only reason I started playing football is because I didn't want to catch the bus [after school] by myself," Paulhill said. "That's the only reason why. All of my friends were playing it. So I just played with them."

After realizing he had some talent, Paulhill started to dedicate himself to become a better player.

As a result, offensive linemen had a tough task trying to keep him out the backfield.

Blessed with speed and power, Paulhill registered 62 tackles and six sacks in 2007. He was named a first-team all-Catholic selection.

But even after that stellar season, Paulhill was originally left off the Big 33's Pennsylvania roster.

"I was upset, because I was looking forward to it so much," he said. "I even promised my dad [Kevin Paulhill] that I was going to make it somehow, some way."

Paulhill became a replacement for Thomas Jefferson lineman Lucas Nix, who opted not to play. Paulhill became the second family member to play in the game in three seasons.

His cousin and North Carolina wideout Anthony Parker-Boyd (a former Great Valley quarterback) played in 2006.

"This is 10 times better than I thought," Paulhill said of the Big 33 experience. "We played football with [younger] kids, the whole nine. I was happy.

"But, me, I'm always happy. I smile all day long."

And he sure made the Pennsylvania coaching staff happy last night.

When he wasn't making tackles, he penetrated in the backfield.

A number of Southeastern Pennsylvania players competed and contributed. Outside of Paulhill, Cardinal O'Hara defensive tackle Mark Wedderman made the biggest contribution.

The 6-6, 242-pound defensive end, headed to Penn State, recorded four tackles and batted down two passes.

Central Bucks South running back Eric Reynolds (Boston College) had five carries for 10 yards. Marple-Newtown defensive end Pete Massaro (Penn State) recorded a sack.

Ohio 0 0 7 9 - 16

Pennsylvania 14 10 0 7 - 31

P: Baldwin 10 pass from Sunseri (Soldner kick)

P: Saddler 5 pass from Sunseri (Soldner kick)

P: FG Soldner 39

P: Jones 3 run (Soldner kick)

O: Shaw 7 pass from Dysert (Buchanan kick)

O: FG Buchanan 47

P: Saddler 79 pass from Sunseri (Soldner kick)

O: Rice 12 pass from Dysert (no attempt)