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Game captains all have roots based in Ohio

August 31, 2012
By BETTY POKAS - Buckeye Blitz ( , Times Leader

SEVERAL similarities exist among players selected as captains of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Miami RedHawks, which will face each other Saturday at the Horseshoe.

For one thing - and it's not unusual - the new captains interviewed regard it as an honor. Both teams include two captains from Ohio.

Undoubtedly, others selected for the high honor felt the same way including at least four former OSU captains from Eastern Ohio and players such as Rex Kern and James Laurinaitis (but more about them later, including dog tales told by Laurinaitis).

At OSU, defensive lineman John Simon is from Youngstown, and fullback Zach Boren is from Pickerington.

Ohioans named as captains for Miami are Zac Dysert, senior quarterback from Ada, and Andy Cruse, a wide receiver from Cincinnati.

Simon has the distinction of being the seventh two-time captain in Buckeye history and the first since Laurinaitis was captain in 2007 and again in 2008.

Dysert made history by being the only player in the 124-year history of Miami University football to be named captain three times.

Also named as Miami captains were Austin Brown, a Woodbridge, Va., resident, on the defensive line, and linebacker Jaytee Swanson of Buford, Ga.

The Buckeyes' other captains are linebacker Etienne Sabino from North Miami Beach, Fla.; defensive lineman Garrett Goebel of Villa Park, Ill.; and running back Jordan Hall of Jeannette, Pa.

When announcing the OSU's team captains, head football coach Urban Meyer said it "is one of the great honors I get to do as head coach. We had a number of guys get votes. This is a really good group of seniors who I am very proud to have leading this team."

In the Buckeyes' more than a century of football, at least four Eastern Ohio natives were team captains. Those captains and the years they served were Bellaire High graduate Joey Galloway, 1994; Tim Spencer, St. Clairsville High School graduate, 1982; Bellaire High graduate Michael Ingram, 1961; and Kenneth Vargo, a graduate of Martins Ferry High School, 1955,

On some personal notes, among my favorite OSU players are Kern and Laurinaitis. Possibly, I like Kern, because he seems to be an all-round good guy, and he also was quarterback when OSU won the national championship at the Rose Bowl at the conclusion of the 1968 season.

My late husband, Cal, and I were at that game, and so were then-President Richard Nixon and Bob Hope.

My good friend, Jean Davies, of Barnesville also is aware of Laurinaitis' athleticism and intelligence, and a few years ago, she sent me a T-shirt proclaiming, "I've Got Laurinaitis."

Laurinaitis is in his fourth season as linebacker for the St. Louis Rams. His official website includes good dog tales about his Rottweilers, Titus and Gracie. Titus was the first dog he acquired, and when they were traveling back to St. Louis from his parents' home in Minnesota, the puppy wasn't trained as yet, and Laurinaitis' mother, Julia, ended up with a wet spot on her clothing.

The linebacker's next comment on the website was: "But I didn't care; I was excited to own my own dog and to raise and train him."

It didn't mention how his mother felt.

One of the dogs owned by the Laurinaitis family was a Rottweiler, which acquired the name, Bronko, after the OSU player won the Bronko Nagurski trophy in 2006. The name was selected by his father, Joe, a retired professional wrestler better known as "Animal."

It's probably a good thing his father didn't name dogs for all his son's trophies, because the OSU website in 2008 referred to him as the most decorated linebacker in Ohio State history.



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