Friendly rivals celebrate The Game (Some of them, anyway)

SANDUSKY It was obvious who was the fan favorite at Cameo's Pizza Saturday afternoon. The restaurant was overloaded wi
Janet
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

It was obvious who was the fan favorite at Cameo's Pizza Saturday afternoon.

The restaurant was overloaded with scarlet and gray shirts, hats, beads and paint, while only about a dozen fans were sporting maize and blue.

Although the Wolverines lost the much-anticipated game, Michigan fans enjoyed the camaraderie with their Ohio State counterparts.

When Ben Ohlemacher and Tara Koble first started dating a few years ago, they made it known who was rooting for whom.

Ohlemacher for Michigan.

Koble for Ohio State.

The couple, from Swanton -- west of Toledo on Ohio 2 -- drove to Sandusky for the weekend to enjoy the game with friends and family.

"It's more about fun with the family," said Ohlemacher, football coach for the Swanton Bulldogs.

The anticipation for the game started last year, and Ohlemacher said his excitement for the game overpowers his excitement for any of the holidays.

"I woke up this morning like it was Christmas morning," he said. "This is bigger than Thanksgiving. It's Christmas, Easter, then Ohio State (vs.) Michigan."

But the couple's rivalry goes back to when they were teenagers. Koble was a cheerleader for Fremont and Ohlemacher played football for Sandusky.

"This is a big issue," said Koble with a laugh. "He's not going to change me."

The tradition has now been passed down to their children.

Maverick Ohlemacher, 4, was wearing proudly sporting his maize-and-blue T-shirt while his 2-year-old sister Isabelle was cheering on the Buckeyes.

"If you're a fan, you're a fan," said the older Ohlemacher.

For Joshua Morton, Saturday's game was a disappointing one.

Morton and his stepfather, Lou Horne, drove from Detroit to Sandusky to watch the game with Horne's friends. Morton is a sophomore at the University of Michigan.

With five minutes left in the game, Morton knew the game was over for the Wolverines.

"I thought they had a good chance with Ohio State losing last week," he said with a glum look.

Several minutes later, Morton yelled out "traitor!"

His stepfather had replaced his Michigan T-shirt with an Ohio State T-shirt.

"What are you going to do?" replied his stepfather as he danced behind the bar.

For Milan residents Mike Shover and Dan McCoy, the big rival game brings the two life-long friends together every year for a new adventure.

The matchup has taken the two friends to Columbus, Ann Arbor and even Bowling Green.

"We know we'll be together again next year at this time," Shover said.

"We just don't know where," replied McCoy.