Sibling Matchups Highlight Ohio Rivalries

For decades, Ohio State didn't play fellow squads from the Buckeye State. Those Ohio rivalries are alive and well now that the Scarlet and Gray has upped its attempts to schedule fellow Ohio teams. Those games often include players on each side who are quite familiar with one another – or are even related.

Freshman wide receiver DeVier Posey of the Ohio State football team feels like he has a pretty good handle on how important Saturday's game with Ohio is to the visiting Bobcats.

"This is a big game. You could say that," Posey said. "Any time you have an Ohio team and kids from Ohio coming to play at Ohio State and in Ohio Stadium, it's a big thing. It's a real big thing."

He would know. His brother, Julian, is a sophomore cornerback for the Bobcats.

Now that the Buckeyes have started playing more in-state teams during the past decade, occurrences such as those are now more commonplace. With the recent addition of in-state schools to the Ohio State schedule, there are many more chances for familiar rivalries and connections between the two schools.

The Buckeyes played many of their games in the early years against squads from Ohio, suiting up against the likes of Columbus Barracks, the Ohio Medical College and Denison during the early days. However, that practice began to fall out of favor in the mid-1930s, with Francis Schmidt's 1934 team matching up against Western Reserve in the last game the Buckeyes would play against an in-state school for decades.

The next game against another squad from the Buckeye State came in 1997 when Bowling Green hit the schedule for a contest on Sept. 13 that Ohio State won 44-13. Since then, there has been an Ohio team on the docket every year, including three last year when the Buckeyes played Youngstown State, Akron and Kent State.

This weekend will provide a number of opportunities for former teammates to face off against one another. Fifteen high schools – 13 from Ohio and two from Pennsylvania – have alumni on both the Buckeye and Bobcat squads, and a total of 42 players in the game will have someone on the other roster that went to his same high school.

"They know so many of them," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said about his charges. "They played high school against them, with them, socially get together. I mean, they know the players – they could give us the scouting report. They know Ohio U and so I think there's not a problem at all with them understanding what they're going to bring."

Of course, some of those players grew up in the same household, like the Poseys. DeVier, made available for interviews after making his first career touchdown catch last week, said that he and his brother have been looking forward to the contest.

"We've been talking about this day for a while," he said. "It seems like it's taken forever to get here, but it also seems like it got here kind of fast. Now it's game week and we're preparing for each other and everything. It feels good."

And a little strange, he admitted.

"It's going to be weird because this is the first time we've ever played against each other except in the backyard," DeVier said.

Both Posey boys played at the same high school, La Salle in Cincinnati.

While the two brothers are talking every night in anticipation of a matchup that could see them line up against one another – Julian is the Bobcats' third cornerback after starting nine games last season – it's hard to imagine what might be going through the mind of their mother, Julie, come kickoff.

"I don't know how she's going to make it through," DeVier said. "She's nervous when we just play against other teams, so us playing against each other is going to be real crazy for her."

Posey is not alone in facing a sibling this year. Cornerback Shaun Lane faced his brother Ben, a fullback who plays for Youngstown State, last week for the second year in a row.

Lane has another connection this week when he goes up against Marcus O'Hara, a redshirt freshman on the Ohio squad who attended Hubbard High School, the same one as Lane.

"It adds a little bit to it, you know," he said. "You have more people at home watching just to see the rivalry between two kids from town."

In Lane's case, the big brother plays for the proverbial big brother in the state when it comes to results on the field. Ohio State is, of course, by far the most successful of the Buckeye State programs on the national level, and OSU hasn't lost to another team from The Heart Of It All since 1921 when it dropped a game to Oberlin, now a Division III school.

Carrying on that legacy is yet another motivating factor for Ohio State.

"You don't want to be the team known to end streak," said Marcus Freeman, a native of Huber Heights. "It's going to be a huge task but it's something we hope we can keep going."

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