Ohio High School Football Championships Are Coming to Ohio Stadium in 2014

By DJ Byrnes on January 23, 2014 at 12:29p
Ohio High School Athletic Association

It's long been known since 2010, but the year of reckoning is finally upon us. Championship high school football is officially coming to Ohio Stadium this winter:

Great idea to give Ohio high schoolers a chance to play football in the most renowned football cathedral in the state. Columbus is also more centrally located than the likes of Massillon and Canton.

Comments Show All Comments


Finally!!!!!!!!!!!  Canton/Massilon is a long way from SW Ohio!

Nothing clinses the sole like getting the hell kicked out of you - Woody Hayes

DJ Byrnes's picture

Canton/Massillon/Youngstown/Akron is a pain in general to travel to if you're not in NE Ohio. 76 has been under some-sort of construction since about 2004 it feels like.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

WC Buckeye's picture

...since about 2004 1954 it feels like

There, fixed that for you.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

ohst8buxCP's picture

It might be a long way for a lot of schools but the atmosphere in Canton/Massillion can't be beat IMO, especially by a half empty stadium in Columbus 

JDunc686's picture

Might see a bunch of OSU students at the game with it being at the Shoe, especially if there are a few recruits playing in the games.

ohst8buxCP's picture

There will probably be a few (i'll be one). But I seriously doubt there will be enough to come close to selling out the lower bowl. Just my opinion but as a young person I would much rather play at a near sold out Massillion or Canton than a mostly empty Ohio Stadium. I'm interested to see opinions on this, idk if i'm in the minority or not.

TheOtherDJ's picture

Totally agree.  I remember going to several state title games in 1984 and 85 in Ohio Stadium, as well as the 1981 big school title game at the Akron Rubber Bowl (which was played in subzero conditions on concrete, and the crowd was fantastic...that was the 13-0 McKinley win over Moeller).  The games in the Shoe felt like they were being played in a mausoleum; it was cool to see, but the crowds felt quiet and terrible as a result.  The two most recent years I attended state title games in Canton and Massillon were 1999 and 2000; the atmospheres were a significant improvement over something so massive, and felt like just the right size.
Incidentally, Fawcett Stadium is in the process of getting a total makeover starting after this year's HOF game, so it would be ready to host the games again in 2016.  This two year hiatus couldn't have come at a better time for the 75 year old facility.  Links:

Normal Buck's picture

I was at that McK-Moeller game, and it was a very exciting atmosphere.

jthiel09's picture

Nothing against the way it's been done, I love going to the Championship games at Massilon and Canton ... but you can't tell me a kid (even if they aren't a Buckeye fan) wouldn't be more pumped to play in the Shoe for a state title?
And on a side note, agreed DJ BYRNES ... I'm not from NE Ohio (NW Ohio) but I've gone to enough of those games to be pretty familiar and it is still confusing / difficult a lot of the time.



If the Shoe ends up not being a good location (because of a sparse crowd).  I'm sure there are some high school stadiums that can come close to the Mass/Canton atmosphere

Nothing clinses the sole like getting the hell kicked out of you - Woody Hayes

UFest57's picture

I played in a D1 Final 4 game at Crew Stadium one year. It was a great atmosphere and again, is centrally located. Also another option.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Not a bad idea here either.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Dirty330Buckeye's picture

They will never play the games at Crew Stadium because there is no turf

WC Buckeye's picture

It used to be this way many, many moons ago, and I never quite understood why it was changed. This is good for the kids, it's good exposure for the university, and good economically (in most cases) for the schools that have to get their students to these games; way shorter drive for the Cincinnati-area schools even though a bit longer for the Cleveland-area ones. Every one else will be about a wash, I suspect.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

ECSAGESTER's picture

Being from Southwest Ohio, this is so much more convenient than going to Canton. I remember traveling to see my high school play in the state title game in 07 and it was ridiculously far. That and the general animosity from everyone towards our fanbase was pretty outrageous. Setting dogs on the student section to prevent them from going on the field made for a diminished experience. I've always felt a general dislike from the rest of the state towards SW Ohio, but maybe I'm wrong. Regardless, this is a much better situation.

Buckeye in Illini country's picture

I'd be a fan of having the State Championship rotated each year among a few sites; such as Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati (that could be filled up much more easily than the Shoe, as it currently only holds 35K), the Cleveland Browns stadium (which apparently is called First Energy Stadium - I did not know this), Canton/ Massilon, and maybe at Toledo or BGSU. 

Columbus to Pasadena: 35 hours.  "We're on a road trip through the desert looking for strippers and cocaine... and Rose Bowl wins!"

sharks's picture

Fun fact- the city of Cleveland is serviced by Cleveland Public Power, not First Energy.

Regardless of who the sponsor is, it'll still be known as the Factory of Sadness to us.

A man got to have a code...

d1145fresh's picture

I really don't mind them being in Columbus but I still don't think it is the best idea to have them in Ohio Stadium. The big games are lucky to draw about 25k to come to the games so that would leave the stadium 3/4's empty. Granted I think the number will go a little higher since it will be easier for most of the state to get to the games, but I still am not a huge fan.
I know this is sacrilegious to a certain extent but I still think Crew Stadium would be perfect for the games. They play some local high school games here throughout the season and it would be a better fit size wise since it holds about 25k.

hetuck's picture

I attended a Massillon game in Ohio Stadium that drew over 40K. Granted, there was no TV. 

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

PA Buckeye's picture

For recruiting purposes, Ohio State should always fight for it to be in the Shoe. Why give UC (Nippert) any free publicity?
I also did not know that the stadium in Cleveland now has a different name.

Hell with the lid off

otrain2416's picture

It will be fun for kids to play in the shoe, but the championship game belongs in Canton/Massillon. The stadium will look empty and the atmosphere will be awful at the shoe. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Nashville Buckeye's picture

I second this!  As a high school football player in Jacksonville, FL playing in 3 State Championship games, I was always pumped to go play in The Swamp (UF) twice and in Doak Campbell Stadium (FSU) once. 
Once we actually arrived and got out onto the field, the seats were very empty and there was very minimal crowd presence.  While I enjoyed playing in the stadiums, (and winning two of three Go Bolles Bulldogs!!!) I would have preferred a smaller venue where there was a bigger crowd and more noise! 
I still think it would be a cool opportunity to play in the Shoe though.  I'm sure part of me was under whelmed because I never had any interest in playing for either school!
Go Bucks!

kyo's picture

My vote would be for Crew Stadium. Played our state semi game there and it was an awesome atmosphere. Only issue would be the field. It is natural grass and would not hold up to 7 games.

Whoa Nellie's picture

I attended a big school championship game at the Shoe.  As good as the crowd was, the place felt empty.  Not a great atmosphere for these games.  I can only imagine what the small school games will be like.

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

gonzogrover's picture

I love it. The high school game should be all about the players and I'd be shocked if any of them would choose to play in Canton or Massillon over The Shoe. My Minster Wildcats won a state championship there in 1989 and I heard a player from that team talking about it at the barber shop a few days ago. Just love it.

RedStorm45's picture

I would have gone with Crew Stadium.  ~20Kish is a more intimate setting, IMO.  But...no field turf, so at that time of year perhaps the field turf is a better option.

Mortc15's picture

What about picking the local D-1 high schools around the Columbus area? I have not been to all of them but do they have large enough stadiums to host the games? Perhaps if you spread the games to a few locations, they could avoid a local team from ever playing a home game for the state championship. Ohio Stadium is just too big for a high school game. I've watched many of them on the Fox channel the past few years and even the smaller stadiums in Cant/Mass. dont seem to have an amazing atmosphere.


Osueddy's picture

I can remember when the Crew played at Ohio Stadium, before the renovations, and 20,000 people does not look like much. It just won't have the feel of a big time high school football game. I understand the people in SW Ohio wanting it more centrally located, but I just don't think it will be as exciting as it is in Stark County.

Fear The Elf's picture

2 best places to watch HS football in the country are Fawcett and Paul Brown. Volleyball finals are in Dayton, but Northern Ohio schools aren't clamoring for a move.
Sorry, nothing beats the Shoe for a college game, but it isn't for HS football.

740Bucks's picture

I love Canton-Fawcett & Paul Brown... great atmosphere & history - BUT this move should be good for Buckeye recruiting. 

"My idea of a good hit is when the guy wakes up on the sidelines with train whistles blowing in his head." - Jack Tatum

frustratedbuckeye's picture

Played and won state championships at Massilon in '93 and '94.  It was an awesome experience (Pretty cool to see the old pictures of Spielman, Earl, etc in the locker room) but I still regret not getting the chance to play in the Shoe.
My brother played in the Shoe in '88 (lost) and in Massilon in '90 (won).  I will have to ask him which he preferred---discounting the outcome.

GreenDog1's picture

These games should have stayed in Canton and Massillon.  The Stark County area embraces those games and the venues are special high school football cathedrals.  I love Ohio Stadium and I don't think it can be beat for a college football game but these are high school games.  If you think that there are high school stadiums in Columbus that can provide the atmosphere that Tiger Stadium provides then you've never been there.  In Columbus these games will just be another event (especially after the novelty wears off). 

Go Bucks!  Michigan sucks!

bucksfan92's picture

State Championships belong in The Shoe.  When I was a freshman I watched my school win a State Title there and it was awesome.  There were probably 35-40k people there and it didn't feel cavernous at all in the stands. My sophomore year we won the state title in basketball, and it was one of the 2 years they moved it to Dayton.  To this day I am bummed that we didn't get to play in St John Arena.  Every kid in Ohio dreams of playing in the Shoe or the Schott and that is where state titles should always be held.  Add in that Columbus is centrally located and it is a no brainer.

ChazBuckeye's picture

I think it's a GREAT idea to have the Championship games at the Shoe.  I've always wondered why they don't have them there. As I love Canton/Mass. set up, I'd go every year to the OHSAA state games if they were in the Shoe.  Just another excuse to tell the wife why I want to go to Columbus to watch great football.  Hope they make it happen.

Some people think we’re the hunted.I don’t feel that way at all.We’re the hunter.Everybody wants an angry football team.Everybody wants a team on edge and a hungry team.If you’re a hunter,that usually equates to being hungry.

ABrown07's picture

Who cares about field turf?! Football is football. I, along with many many others, grew up playing it on grass and there didn't seem to be a problem so why is it such a big deal now?

I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.

-Woody Hayes