Coming out of Clymer Central School a Big Ten-bound football star, Jehuu Caulcrick never played in the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic.
Instead, the Liberian native played in a different cross-state clash: the Governor’s Bowl, between New York and New Jersey, at Rutgers Stadium. So while he doesn’t have firsthand Big 30 experience, the New York coach for Saturday’s Classic can recall some of the feelings his players might have entering the showcase at Bradford, Pa.’s Parkway Field.
“That's something again you're representing your state and that pride is on the line, so it's pretty cool,” he said of the Governor’s Bowl.
After four years coaching Southwestern, Caulcrick accepted the invitation to coach New York in the 46th annual Big 30 game.
“I think it's a great experience,” Caulcrick said after practice on Monday at Salamanca’s Veterans Memorial Park. “We're fortunate as a staff from Southwestern to have the opportunity to coach these men. Like I told them, they've been playing against each other for the last four years, we've been coaching against them and now they have the opportunity to come together and play for one team, the team being the state of New York. So it's a really cool opportunity, you travel (to) different places, you see different fields other than game days and everything like that.”
Salamanca has five players on the team, tied with Olean for the most from one school on the New York squad. Representing the Warriors as graduated seniors are: Zariah Armstrong (quarterback) Zach Helms (cornerback), Ira John (running back), Tyler Hedlund (safety) Nikolas Milks (offensive tackle).
From Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Damion Ly is on the team at guard.
Franklinville/Ellicottville has three players on the squad. From Franklinville Jake Peters (running back) and Ben Mooney (middle linebacker) are on the squad, while Steven Rowland (middle linebacker/defensive tackle) is on the team from Ellicottville.
Randolph/Frewsburg had six seniors from last year’s team selected to New York. From Randolph are Mason Pagett (center), Skyler Wright (outside linebacker/strong safety), Deter Miinte (running back) and Andrew Bernard (offensive tackle). From Frewsburg are Nolan Brink (wide receiver) and Daniel Reinagel (safety).
“After the first day, they started to mesh with each other and understand, so it's been good,” Caulcrick said of coaching players from various schools in the Southern Tier. “We haven't had to do many icebreakers or many things like that, they just formed... that's the beauty of this game of football, it brings people together.”
Caulcrick is coaching the New York offense, while Jake Burkholder and Aaron Emley lead the defense. John Kinder and Mark Arnold are also on staff for the game. Caulcrick said he spent some time in the first week of practice teaching different techniques or terminology for his offense.
“From the offensive side, it's been a little,” Caulrick said, “but it's coming together now because a lot of these teams, they run different stuff and our offensive line, they're all from running teams. Our system (at Southwestern), we're more of a passing team. But they've picked it up well, they've retained it so it's been exciting to see.
”Different guys have different strengths at different positions. It's going to be good to see it on Saturday night.”
Caulcrick plans to keep his pregame message simple for the New York stars.
“The biggest thing is play for each other,” he said. “(For a lot of them), this is their last opportunity to play organized football, so the biggest thing is just play for each other and have fun.”
Notes on game day for the 46th edition of the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic:
— Once again, the Big 30 All-Star Charities Classic festivities begin on Saturday, Aug. 3, with the annual parade through downtown Bradford.
The parade participants will line up at the Best Western parking lot on Davis Street at 1:30 p.m., with the parade starting at 2:30. The parade commences on Davis Street, then turns down Main Street, then a right turn onto Mechanic Street, then left onto Barbour Street, where the parade will continue to Campus Drive and disperse.
A tailgate party starts at 3 p.m. in the Parkway Field parking lot for all who wish to attend before gates open at 5 p.m., pregame activities at 7 and kickoff at 7. No alcoholic beverages are allowed on school property.
— Pennsylvania will return to the home sideline by virtue of winning last year’s game. The referees will be from New York, alternating from last year.
— Admission for the game is $7 and programs, which will have numbers for giveaways during the game, will be available for $7. Tickets for the 50/50 drawing will be sold separately.
— Big 30 charities request forms are available by mailing Big 30 Charities Request Forms, P.O. Box 82, Bradford, Pa. 16701, by or calling Jim Giordono at 919-723-8194, Tom Bowes at 814-368-7096 or Dick Cavallaro at 814-368-6013.