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Steelers fanatics say 'bring on Denver'

Local fans watch beloved team humble favored Colts

Local fans watch beloved team humble favored Colts

January 16, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

erinc@herald-mail.com

His fingers brushed his black and gold mohawk - a wig - and when the Pittsburgh Steelers went up 20-3 against the Indianapolis Colts, Mike Danley jumped back and gave everyone a high five.

"Here we go Steelers, here we go," chanted Danley, of Hagerstown, and most of the 100 people gathered Sunday at Colonial Restaurant and Lounge, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown.

Danley, president of Hagerstown's Steelers Fan Club, said most of the club's 200 members meet at Colonial each week to watch the Steelers. The crowd is always high-energy, but Sunday's crowd was ready for a close game, as the Steelers came in as underdogs against the Colts.

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The game wasn't close, though, until the end, when the Steelers eked out a win over the Colts.

"We've shut down their offense," Ron McMullen, of Clear Spring, said in the third quarter, when the score was 21-3. "That's the most potent offense in the league and we've held them to three points."

Late in the fourth quarter, the Colts brought it to within three points, and nearly tied the score, until the Colts missed a field goal that sealed the win for the Steelers.

"I thought it was going to be a really close game," said Chuck Eichelberger, of Hagerstown. "So far, they've outdone expectations. Nobody gave us a shot."

Coming into the playoffs as the sixth seed in the conference and competing against the team with the best record in the NFL, Eichelberger said sports writers, announcers, critics and fans all predicted a Colts victory.

"Nobody in the country gave us a chance, except Steelers fans," said Don Galla, of Smithsburg.

His son, Josh Galla, who lives in Boonsboro, said he has been a Steelers fan since he was 5 years old. He said he wasn't expecting that the majority of the game would be in the Steelers' favor.

"They were such underdogs and have totally taken control of the game," he said.

Josh Galla said he believes the team is trying to win for its running back, Jerome Bettis. He said this might be Bettis' last year, and the Super Bowl will be in Detroit - Bettis' hometown.

"They're trying to win it for him," Galla said.

If they win against Denver, they might get that chance.

"If we can beat these guys, I know we can beat Denver," said Terry Renner, of Hagerstown.

Rick Ricker, also of Hagerstown, agreed.

"Bring on Denver!" he said.

That game, which also will be played on the road, like Sunday's game, might actually favor the Steelers, some fans said. The Steelers have played better on the road this season, Ricker said.

"We love being underdogs, too," Danley said.

He said the team plays better on the road and as underdogs, when the players have a lot going against them.

"There is a good chance we'll be going to the show," Renner said, referring to the Super Bowl.

The Steelers were plagued by injuries and weren't winning games in the first half of the season, said Larry Seward, of Hagerstown. For about the past five games, he said, they have been playing Steelers football, and are back on track.

If they keep up the solid offense and continue to hold teams to low scores with their defense, Seward said they could make it to the Super Bowl for the first time in 10 years.

His ideal matchup would be the Steelers vs. the Seattle Seahawks, who will host Sunday's other conference championship game.

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