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Hill, McGhee selected for Big 33 Game

Altoona senior defensive lineman Gaige Hill and Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic punter and kicker Kolton McGhee were selected on Thursday to play in the Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association’s Big 33 Game on May 27 at Central Dauphin’s Landis Field.

The annual game, in its 62nd year, pits the best of Pennsylvania’s high school football seniors against the best of Maryland’s players.

A Blair County school will have a kicker in the game for the second consecutive year.

Hollidaysburg product Vlad Hilling, who later walked on at Penn State, accounted for all of Pennsylvania’s scoring last year when he kicked a 20-yard field goal and a Big 33 record 56-yard field goal.

McGhee is hoping to leave his mark as well.

“The experience of being selected one of the few players is a great honor,” McGhee said. “We have some great athletes in the Laurel Highlands, and we haven’t had many play in the game. So to get the chance to represent everyone is exciting.”

McGhee averaged 46.2 yards per punt and had 16 punts inside the 20-yard line this past season. He also made all 29 extra points and was 7-for-8 on field goals.

For awhile this offseason, it appeared McGhee may not get a chance to play in the game despite being one of the most heavily-recruited kickers in the nation.

“When they had tryouts, I was heading to WVU for an official visit,” McGhee said. “That played a factor on whether if I was going to get to play, because they look at tryouts and film. I think they selected me off highlights and stats from high school.”

For Hill, the game is a chance to compete against some top-level high school competition one last time before he heads to Toledo.

Hill was named to the first team of the Mid-Penn Conference’s all-star squad despite missing some of Altoona’s season due to injury. Hill, a 6-foot-4 inch, 280-pound senior was selected as a first-team defensive tackle on the Class 6A PAFootballNews.com Coach’s Select All-State team.

“It was a big accomplishment, because I honestly didn’t think I’d get picked,” Hill said. “It’s something I had talked with my coaches about, and I was pretty excited. I did make a good impact when I came back from my injury, and this gives me experience for college, because these are top kids around my age I’ll be going against.”

SUBHED: East-West game

Two more local players were selected for the PSFCA’s East-West Game that will be played on May 5.

The players aren’t just teammates at Hollidaysburg, they’re twins.

Offensive linemen Nathan and Josh Howells both will play in the game.

“I was pretty excited and a little shocked just to be selected,” Nathan Howells said. “I’m honored that all the hard work is being recognized, and to represent Hollidaysburg is pretty exciting.”

Nathan added seeing his brother also be selected added to his excitement.

“I thought that was pretty cool we’d be able to play together one last time,” Nathan Howells said. “It will be special being beside him again.”

The twins will be making an official visit to Lafayette this weekend as they continue to search for a collegiate destination.

“It is cool and a huge honor to represent our region,” Josh Howells said. “To be on a team with all-state players, I’m obviously happy and excited to play. Some great players have come out of Hollidaysburg, and the coaches put a lot of time into the athletes to help them go to the next level.”

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