The fans at Friday night’s crosstown rivalry game sizzled with energy and beamed with pride.
They covered themselves in blue or orange body paint and wore togas or snow skiing gear.
And they felt confident their team would come out on top in the on-field battle between the Columbus North and Columbus East high school football teams.
“It’s already over,” said Jake Armuth, a junior at Columbus North, before the game even started. “We’re going to win.”
His counterparts across the field felt just as certain about their team’s chances.
“We’re confident we’ve got this,” said Clarissa Ogle, a senior at Columbus East.
But above all the pregame hype and opinions lingered the feeling of a united community.
“I like (the rivalry) because it happens every year,” said Logan Poff, a North senior.
Next to her, North senior Myra Perez agreed.
Signs with slogans
Large hand-made signs were displayed on both sides of the field Friday night. “East > North” read one sign on the Columbus East side. “The hottest part of the flame burns blue,” read a sign on the Columbus North side.
Students with themes
Each student section dressed according to a theme. North’s theme was “Freeze the Flame,” a reference to putting out the torch in Columbus East’s logo. The East theme was “Gods and Goddesses,” a reference to Greek mythology.
Plenty of preparation
Some East students said they spent hours making their togas to match their fan section themes. North students dug up big, furry winter hats and snow ski goggles to look the part for their theme.
Some fans arrived hours early. Kickoff was scheduled for 7 p.m., but students along the front line of the fan section said they got to their seats as early as 5 p.m.
“The school makes it fun because they involve everybody — the band, the other sports teams,” Perez said.
As the game kicked off, fans on both sides of the field roared with support for their team. For some fans, the rowdiness started hours earlier.
Getting a seat on the front lines of the student sections required an early arrival and a lot of patience.
It meant enduring the late-summer heat and dressing in wild get-ups.
The East student section’s theme this year was “Gods and Goddesses.” East seniors Katie Campbell, Andrew Garland and Jonathan Marchbanks came to the game wearing togas fashioned out of materials they bought at a local fabric store.
Campbell said they spent about two hours making the togas, which required watching instructional videos on YouTube.
Sarah Weaver and Megan Krazeski, also East seniors dressed in togas, said they arrived before 5:30 p.m. Friday to get their front-row seats in the visitors section.
“We’ve just been cheering, getting motivated, getting pumped up,” Weaver said.
North senior Dylan Thixton said he and his friends arrived before 5 p.m. to represent the front line of North’s home field student fan section.
Thixton had covered himself in white paint with sparkling glitter. Next to him, senior Blake Seckman wore ski goggles.
The theme for North’s student section was “Freeze the Flame,” a reference to the East Olympian’s torch logo.
“We have a different theme every year,” Thixton said. “This game is always fun.”
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