Hyno ready to go
HERSHEY — Almost six months ago, Southern Columbia fullback Henry Hynoski was leaping over would-be tacklers and scoring touchdowns for the Tigers in their fifth-straight PIAA Class A state championship victory at Hersheypark Stadium.
The 56-14 romp over West Middlesex High School was the perfect ending to a perfect senior season for Hynoski and the Tigers.
It was truly a historic Friday afternoon when Hynoski ran for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another, but it wouldn’t be the last time he’d set foot on the stadium’s artificial surface.
This Saturday night, one of the most prolific running backs in the Lower Anthracite Region will join 33 other outstanding high school football players as Pennsylvania takes on Ohio in the 50th annual Big 33 Football Classic.
Hynoski, who rushed for 2,407 yards and scored 44 touchdowns during Southern’s 16-0 season last fall, will be the first player from the Tiger program to don the Pennsylvania uniform when the game gets under way at 7 p.m.
This fall, the 6-foot-2, 245-pound athlete will wear similar colors — blue, gold and white — when he begins his collegiate career at the University of Pittsburgh.
“This is the pinnacle of all high school football games,” Hynoski said after Wednesday morning’s two-hour practice at Hershey High School. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I just wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps. It was my goal to get here and I’m going to do everything I can to carry what I did in high school to Saturday.”
Hynoski certainly did follow in his father’s footsteps, albeit a little differently.
While Henry Sr. starred at Mount Carmel and went on to play at Temple University, Henry Jr. made a name for himself just up the road in the rural area between Catawissa and Elysburg.
After last year’s perfect season and his 233 total yards, including 124 on the ground, in the state title game, Hynoski Jr. was named the Associated Press Class A Player of the Year.
According to available records, the father-son combination is one of just a few to appear in the Classic.
The others include Pottsville’s Jack and Josh Dolbin and East Pennsboro’s Mickey Shuler and Mickey Shuler Jr.
“It’s a very special game for me, not just because it’s the 50th anniversary, but because of my dad,” Hynoski said. “I want to represent my family well, and my community. It’s also the tiebreaker between us (Pennsylvania) and Ohio. This game really means a lot.”
During Wednesday morning’s practice session, Hynoski and his teammates were never allowed to relax as South Park head coach Tom Loughran and his staff kept their team on its toes.
Hynoski, the only designated fullback on Pennsylvania’s roster, will be among a group that includes six other running backs in the Keystone State backfield.
He’s also one of six Pitt recruits who will line up against Ohio.
The others include Keystone Oaks’ Myles Caragein and Chris Jacobson, Thomas Jefferson’s Dom DeCicco, Upper Perkiomen’s John Fieger and Bishop McCort’s Wayne Jones.
Hynoski says the six Panther recruits and the rest of the Pennsylvania team are showing excellent camaraderie at the midway point.
“Everyone out here is a phenomenal athlete,” Hynoski said. “It’s hard to believe that I’m playing with these guys and a lot of them will be in the NFL one day.
“It’s great to know that you’re in the same elite class as these guys. It’s humbling, but it’s nice to know that you’re one of the top players in the state.
“We’re all good buddies and our whole team is really close. We have the unity thing down.”