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Ravens fans pack Harford bars for big game

Harford fans who didn't get tickets to Sunday's Ravens-Texans game in Baltimore were doing quite a bit of celebrating of their own closer to home.

Bel Air bars in particular were a sea of black-and-purple jerseys, as hundreds were glued to the giant TV screens in hopes of seeing their team get a step closer to the Super Bowl. That they did, with the Ravens pulling off a 20-13 win over the Houston Texans. They'll play the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game this Sunday.

At The Tower restaurant on Main Street in Bel Air, people had been trickling in since the business opened in preparation for the big game.

"We had people here at 9 just to stake out the bar," hostess Hannah Saenz, who was wearing a Ravens jersey and purple beads, said.

The Tower's first floor bar had a number of football fans, ready to go.

Most of those watching the game were confident in the Ravens' victory.

John Shultz, of Bel Air, was there with his wife, and said he thought the Baltimore team would be able to overtake the Texans.

"I think they are going to win," he said, noting he has been following the Ravens throughout the season. "I would like them to win."

"Houston is peaking, and we need to play a better game," he said.

Mike Whitacre, of Jarrettsville, who was sporting some eye black, was also at the bar with some friends. They had been there since about 9:30 a.m.

Like many others, he thought the Ravens would take the Texans but have problems in the next game, the AFC Championship.

"I don't think Houston is as much of a concern as going to New England next week," he said, adding that teams usually win their home games.

Gina Donald, who was with Whitacre and his daughter, agreed.

"We are going to win, but I am afraid to look past at the next week," she said.

Donald nevertheless said she has been anticipating the game for days.

"I've been excited all week," she said.

Down the road at Looney's, the bar was packed with purple-and-black supporters. Game day specials included items like The Ravenator and Harbaugh's Hoagies, in reference to Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

The rapt crowd erupted in cheers as Ed Reed made a big tackle on Texan Arian Foster early in the game, after the Texans took an initial 3-0 lead.

The hometown favorite soon picked up speed, however, and the Looney's crowd seemed to relax a bit.

Derrick Johnson, a security guard for the pub, said a lot of people go to Baltimore for Ravens' games, but the bar stayed pretty crowded. He said Looney's is regularly packed for away games as well.

"It's staying a good crowd. It's not, like, uncomfortably packed," he said.

Babs Bryans and Sharon Levin, of Forest Hill, were two of the jersey-clad supporters watching the game on their private TV screen in one of Looney's booths.

"They are going to win this game," Bryans, who had a purple feather boa, said enthusiastically. "Go Ravens!"

Levin was a little more worried, noting it may not pay to be too confident.

"I think the Ravens are going to win, but when people think it's a sure thing, they tend to lose," she said with a smile. "It's tricky."

Tricky, but a win nonetheless, and fans survive another week to cheer on their Ravens.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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