Michael Petrof will add another milestone to an incredible high school football career.
The Ligonier Valley standout was selected to play in the 63rd annual Big 33 Football Classic on May 25. Petrof, who is committed to the U.S. Naval Academy, is a defensive tackle on the Pennsylvania team that will face a Maryland all-star squad.
“It was always kind of in the back of my head to get to this point. It’s an amazing accomplishment,” said Petrof, who was one of three NCAA Division I recruits on a Rams’ line that helped Ligonier Valley win its fourth straight Heritage Conference crown and Appalachian Bowl title. “But to be honest I wasn’t really thinking I was going to participate in it because I didn’t think I was going to make it. It’s a great honor to be in such an elite class of players in Pennsylvania and Maryland and become a part of history.”
Petrof is the third Ligonier Valley player selected to the Big 33 roster, joining Alec Bloom, who played in the 2014 game before beginning a career at the University of Connecticut, and Tim Clark, who was part of the 1980 game before heading to Purdue University.
In the past four seasons, Ligonier Valley went 51-4 and had a 37-game winning streak in the Heritage Conference.
The Rams played in the past four District 6 Class AA title games, winning in 2016 and 2017 and finishing runner-up to Richland the past two seasons.
Ligonier Valley officially will join the WPIAL/District 7 and leave District 6 and the Heritage Conference for the 2020-21 school year.
“It’s rare air to be part of a group of people that’s only lost four games in their high school career,” Petrof said.
“What we put together and what we had an opportunity to play for is really special. It would have been cool to get one last win, but it is what it is. I’m not looking back.
I’m looking toward the future.”
A future that includes a spot in the Big 33 game.
He’ll join a list of elite area players to participate in the game. Among those who were selected since 2000 are: Greater Johnstown’s Exree Loe (2017); Bishop McCort Catholic’s Zach Rugg (2012); Bishop Carroll Catholic’s Steve Greene (2009); Greater Johnstown’s Antwuan Reed (2008); Bishop McCort’s Wayne Jones (2007); Greater Johnstown’s LaRod Stephens-Howling (2005); and Bishop McCort’s Matt Domonkos (2002).
Mike Mastovich is a sports writer for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @masty81.