Fans form a big cheerleading squad
Residents cheered and cried when Miami's final pass fell to the ground.
& lt;a href=mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org & gt;By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR & lt;/a & gt;.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Miami Hurricanes in heart-stopping fashion -- 31-24 in double overtime -- and Youngstown area fans partied and cheered the Buckeyes on from kickoff to the last dropped pass.
Most bars, halls and restaurants were packed Friday night with excited scarlet-and-gray-clad Ohio State enthusiasts rooting for the Buckeyes with beer mugs, beer nuts and buffet-style food in hand.
The B & amp;O Station Brewery and Restaurant downtown played host to two floors full of partygoers strategically seated around a large screen TV and several smaller screens. Some fans sported painted faces or miniature helmets as they watched the game unfold. B & amp;O employees hurled free T-shirtsto the crowd and kept the fans going through the high and low points of Ohio State's victory over Miami.
The scene at The Georgetown banquet hall in Boardman was no different. A sea of scarlet, made up mostly of members of the Ohio State Alumni Club of Mahoning County, enjoyed an elaborate buffet and watched the game on any one of several large TVs placed throughout the hall, at a cost of $15 per person. Several auctions and raffles were held, with proceeds going to send three Mahoning Valley students to Ohio State University and one student to medical school.
Area resident Steven Shagrin, a Miami University graduate, walked the crowd wearing an Ohio State University ball cap, a flannel shirt and Ohio State flag. But, under his flannel -- much like the hidden S under Superman's shirt and tie -- was his cherished Miami University T-shirt. He is quick to point out that he almost attended Ohio State University at one time and has an affection for both schools.
"These are my No. 1 and No. 2 teams, so I am happy either way," he said.
Seven-year-old Zachari Jones of Youngstown was much more decisive. Zachari, seated at a corner table in the B & amp;O Restaurant with his mother, Jen, 11-year-old brother Kyle, and family friend Rick Fogo, came decked out in full football gear complete with the number 13 after his favorite Ohio State player, Maurice Clarett.
Jen Jones said the youngster, whom she dubbed "little Maurice" for the evening, has been a football fan since age 4 and spent Thursday looking at Ohio State football clips.
Some of those in the crowd were not so much Ohio State football fans, but excited about the fact that Jim Tressel, former Youngstown State University football coach, was heading the Buckeyes. Ruth and Bill Zemko, and Carole Keevey all shared a table to the back of the restaurant cheering for Tressel.
"It would be great for him to win this," said Keevey. "He's done a lot for the community, and this is just great."
Most of those at area party places said they wanted to have a good time whether Ohio State won or not. But the cheers and screams after each OSU overtime reception, first down and touchdown showed where the heart of the crowd lay.
It became even more evident with the final failed play by Miami. At the B & amp;O, women were hoisted on the shoulders of men sporting painted faces; shirts, rags and towels were thrown into the air; and one woman slowly trotted across the restaurant shedding tears, too emotional to speak.