Residents are walking with a little zip in their step after Ashtabula County native Urban Meyer led the Ohio State Buckeyes to a national championship on Monday night.
One of the first things out of Meyer’s mouth following the game was how proud he is to be from Ashtabula.
Many area residents feel the same way in return.
“It’s good for the area and it makes people feel good,” said Nick Detore, co-owner of the Crows Nest in Ashtabula Township, where a huge crowd of Ohio State fans gathered to watch the game on Monday night.
“It was crazy,” he said.
“I knew Urban when he was in high school,” said Ashtabula Township Trustee Joe Pete. “I used to talk to him when he came out of the fieldhouse. He was always first class.”
“It was a wonderful game,” Pete said.
Detore said the excitement was doubled because of the love of Ohio State football and Meyer’s hometown status. “There weren’t any Oregon jerseys in here,” he said with a laugh.
The championship game produced a crowd that topped NFL weekends, Detore said.
“It’s our Super Bowl,” he said. “It doesn’t look like we’re getting any (Super Bowls) anytime soon.”
Detore said several of Meyer’s close friends were at the game on Monday night and posted pictures on Facebook.
Ashtabula resident Vince Grippe, 75, said he chose Monday night to watch his very first Ohio State football game. Grippe said he is an NFL fan but never really liked the college game. He decided to watch because of the local connection to Meyer.
“I really enjoyed it as much, or maybe even more, than any pro game in the last several years,” Grippe said.
Staff at the Conneaut Public Library wore Ohio State gear on Monday, but Kathy Altman was still in the spirit one day later.
“Since they (Ohio State) won I wore it again,” she said of her OSU T-shirt.
Conneaut High School Principal Dawn Zappitelli said many students and teachers wore Ohio State garb to school on Tuesday. “Some people are dragging today because they stayed up to watch the end of the game,” she said, wearing a gray jacket and scarlet shirt to stay in the Ohio State theme.
Derrick Krzys, an Ashtabula firefighter, said the crew watched the game together but weren’t able to wear Ohio State stuff because they were on duty. “We got interrupted a couple of times for calls,” he said.
Krzys said the Urban Meyer connection makes the win more special. He said he didn’t expect a win until next year because the team was so young.
Lakeside Football Coach Frank Hall said Tuesday’s weight workout went well as the athletes were still motivated from the national championship game. Students were talking about play-makers on the Buckeyes and the effort the Ohio State team put into the game, he said.
“Dreaming a little harder. Lifting a little harder. It makes dreams seem a little more attainable,” Hall said of Meyer’s success.