The Hilliard Davidson High School students waved their school flag. They chanted to their friends -- and rivals for the day -- from Hilliard Darby.
The celebration was ignited by their football team's 21-14 win over the Panthers on Oct. 23 in Crew Stadium. The teams renewed their rivalry before an enthusiastic but less-than-capacity crowd. Davidson avenged a 21-10 loss to the Panthers from last season.
Administrators from both schools lined the sidelines, supporting their programs and providing supervision.
"It's a great crowd, great weather, great student section, the fans are great," Davidson principal John Bandow said. "It was a well-played game, a lot of excitement. You can't get any better than this. It's an opportunity that the kids will never forget in their lifetime of being able to come to Crew Stadium and play."
"I thought it was fantastic on both sides," Darby principal Ryan McClure said. "That's what high school sports are about. It would have been a privilege for any kid to get to play in that kind of atmosphere. In a setting like (Crew Stadium) and in front of that many people in a rivalry game like that, for a high school kid it doesn't get any better."
The game was played without incidents on the field or in the stands. There were no controversies, unlike last season when a Davidson student was suspended for pulling off a prank card stunt.
Davidson's win also helped it secure the No. 1 seed in the Division I Region 3 playoffs. The Wildcats, who are 9-1, will open postseason action Saturday at home against Grove City. Darby finished 6-4 and did not make the playoffs.
"There was a whole year of them talking," said Davidson senior Kyle Frazier, who scored on a 1-yard run in the first half. "It's nice to come back and get one our senior year. It feels really good right now."
For Davidson quarterback Jake Trubiano, the win was extra special. He had counted the days until his team could face Darby again and avenge last season's loss.
"It's been 365 days and 10 weeks since we've been thinking about that last game," Trubiano said. "It's good to get a win on our side."
The game played at the neutral facility also gave the bands a little extra exposure as both played at halftime. Darby director of bands Joe Burke said his students look forward to these marquee games.
"When you're in a venue like this it's a great opportunity for the kids to perform," he said.
"The field is outstanding, you're playing for a lot of people. This is a lot of fun."
Davidson athletics director Mark Princehorn has witnessed his football program compete in several high-profile facilities, including Fawcett Stadium in Canton, the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan, Yeager Stadium at Miami University, Paul Brown Stadium in Massillon and Crew Stadium.
"Crew Stadium is the centerpiece of central Ohio professional sports and obviously it's an honor to get a chance to play there," Princehorn said.
"It's special to go to all those places for different reasons."
DAVIDSON 21, DARBY 14
•Star: Davidson's Jake Trubiano, who rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns
•Key play: After Darby pulled even at 14 late in the first half, Trubiano scored on a 70-yard run with 2:56 left in the first half.
•Key stat: After passing for 108 yards in the first half, Darby's Brandon Bargar was limited to 41 yards passing in the second half.