Although this year’s College Playoff Saturday did not feature hometown favorites like UCLA or USC, the Santa Clarita sports fan community packed into local bars and viewing parties throughout the day.
“We’ll see a couple hundred people come through here today, which is normal if there are playoff games on,” said Teri Ledesma, owner of Schooners Patio Grille in Saugus. “Santa Clarita loves to show up for their playoffs.”
A profitable day for business owners and football fans, a number of bar patrons sat around tables, donned in their alma mater colors, shooting critiques and analysis between one another as they watched the games on how their team was performing.
One such loyal alumni, John Puckett, held down a table during the earlier Notre Dame versus Clemson game in order to ensure his primary seating for when his Oklahoma Sooners took on Alabama’s Crimson Tide.
“As long as they don’t get a big head and can prevent the turnovers, we’ll see them beat Alabama,” said Puckett as he adjusted his OSU hat. “It’s a big day.”
And while some indicated that their happiness for the day was tied to the performance of their squad, others only casually watched the games as they drank with old friends and teammates.
Sitting at a Schooners table during the first playoff game of the day, former Hart football stars Connor Wingenroth, Weston Fitzpatrick and Blake Porter sat around with their fathers, reminiscing about their time spent playing together.
“You know, it’s just great to get together again after they all went off to play college ball,” said Wingenroth’s father, Chris. “And they still get together and always want to talk about what happened back when they played together in high school.”