On Saturday night, the full crowd at Cat's Corner fell silent as they waited to hear one name: Joe Burrow. 

Then, at 8:44 p.m., the crowd erupted into chants of “Joey! Joey! Joe!”

At that time, it was announced that former Athens high school quarterback Joe Burrow was the 2019 Heisman Memorial Trophy winner.

Burrow has been LSU's starting quarterback for the past two seasons, and the town he grew up in has followed along every step of the way. That fandom came to a pinnacle when Burrow’s name was announced on TVs inside the bars on Court Street and West Union Street, where people buzzed in joy and proudly donned purple and gold colors.

"It started a little in The Plains," Ryan Luehrman, current Ohio tight end and Burrow's high school teammate, said. "Finally, as the season progressed, it was like a wave. Even the local Walmart sells LSU gear now."

Athens, a small city in southeastern Ohio, has started to look like a suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, once Burrow and LSU had success. 

As a result, there were three different bars hosting watch parties to see if the 85th Heisman Trophy would go to the former Bulldogs' quarterback, but locals inside the confines of Cat’s Corner, 110 W. Union St., have followed Burrow and his Tigers all season long.

"Week in and week out, we have been playing LSU games with the sound on," Matt Stephens, general manager of Cat’s Corner, said. "A lot of our regulars, if the game is not on, they are not happy."

Stephens, who was wearing a purple shirt with a gold No. 9, Burrow’s jersey number, on it, has even made Louisiana-based food to serve in the bar on specific game days.

The one that stood out the most was the gumbo that was served at the bar for the LSU vs. Alabama game on Nov. 9. There was no food served Saturday, though. A capacity crowd was expected.

Cat's Corner takes pride in having an even split between college students and locals in its customer group. As a result, the regular people who watch games at Cat's Corner remember watching Burrow as a Bulldog.

While wearing the green and gold, Burrow led Athens to three straight playoff appearances. In his final season, he led the Bulldogs to the state championship in 2014.

Burrow threw for 446 yards and six touchdowns against Toledo Central Catholic. The Irish, however, walked away with the state championship after winning a high-scoring affair 56-52. Even then, Burrow's teammates knew he was something special.

"I knew he would be an elite quarterback in college football," Luehrman said. "The Heisman talk never really came up between our friends. We knew he would do well and just take it from there." 

Burrow has come a long way since that state championship game. The quarterback found himself surrounded by great talent at Ohio State before he decided to transfer out to LSU.

Once Burrow became a Tiger, he showed he belonged right away, getting the starting job. Burrow proved that even more in his second season, leading LSU to the College Football Playoffs and winning the Heisman. 

No matter what happens from here on out, the city of Athens will continue to show Burrow an endless flow of support.

@17_Andrew_

aa816819@ohio.edu