Joraskie impresses in Big 33 outing
HERSHEY - Eric Joraskie's high school career ended with a victory.
Playing for Pennsylvania in the 56th Annual Big 33 game against Maryland, Joraskie and his Keystone State teammates manhandled their Mason-Dixon Line rivals 58-27 Saturday in Hershey.
Joraskie, who is headed to Northwestern University and won't play in Pennsylvania again until the Wildcats visit Penn State in September 2014, was one of six captains for the Pennsylvania team and made his presence along the defensive line felt from the start.
"It was a ton of fun playing in this game," Joraskie said. "It was a great way to bring Pa. back after a couple losses to Ohio and a great way to start up our rivalry with Maryland."
Starting in the first quarter, Joraskie, who was an All-State selection in both his junior and senior years, applied consistent pressure to the Maryland quarterbacks.
For the game, Joraskie was in on 57 plays, made three tackles, had one pass breakup and five hurries.
His hurry on a first-and-10 in the first quarter resulted in an incomplete pass and he was on the field for a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by Pennsylvania's Titus Howard as part of Pennsylvania's 21 points in the first 1:56 of the game.
But Maryland got wise to Joraskie's athleticism and began to put more meat against the former Red Tornadoes' star by often double teaming him or chipping him with a tight end.
"I think the way it started out, I was kind of burning their tackles," Joraskie said. "I thought I was doing a pretty good job of getting to their quarterback and they started doing all kinds of stuff to stay away from me. But I thought it was a great start to playing against higher competition."
Joraskie wasn't deterred and made a tackle for a one-yard loss in the second quarter and continued to flush the Maryland quarterbacks from the pocket.
Joraskie's name was then mentioned consistently in the press box during the third quarter as he clearly made the Maryland quarterbacks' lives miserable, but didn't come away with a sack.
Joraskie also played on three offensive plays as a tight end in Pennsylvania's goal line formation and was in on punt coverage and for point after attempts.
"It was a lot of fun," Joraskie said. "I got to meet a lot of guys, a lot of guys going big places and it was good to work with such big competition all week as a start to going out to Northwestern."