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OHSAA, Pro Football Hall of Fame announce three-year deal for state football finals

Posted at 1:08 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 13:30:01-04

CANTON, Ohio — Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton will host the OHSAA state football finals for the next three years, the Ohio High School Athletic Association and Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Wednesday afternoon.

This year's state finals are scheduled for Dec. 2-4. One state final is scheduled for Thursday, while three games each are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

“The OHSAA is excited for this three-year agreement with the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as our student-athletes, schools and communities will get to experience Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium and all that Canton and the Hall of Fame Village have to offer,” OHSAA executive director Doug Ute said.

“We are grateful to the Hall of Fame for their partnership, and we look forward to collaborating with the Hall year-round.”

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton hosted the football finals from 2017-19, but attendance limitations in 2020 set by the Ohio Health Director’s sports order due to the COVID-19 pandemic changed the location.

Fawcett Stadium, the former name of Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, first hosted a state football final in 1991.

“The Hall of Fame prides itself in treating OHSAA football teams and their fans the same way we treat the NFL teams and their fans,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Chief Administrative Officer Steve Strawbridge.

“We give them a first-class experience while they are here. We take the teams through the museum and promote the values of the game. We look forward to providing an exceptional experience for the players, coaches, families and fans attending the games in Canton – the pinnacle of football.”

Last season, the state finals were played in Stark County and Franklin County due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. Xavier defeated Pickerington Central 44-3 in the Division I state final Nov. 13, 2020 in a game played Fortress Obetz in Obetz just outside of Columbus.

A week later, the Divisions II-VII state finals were held at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium due to a health advisory issued by the Franklin County Department of Health and the Columbus Department of Health which prevented the games from being played in Obetz due to the pandemic.

This year's Ohio high school football season is scheduled to start the week of Aug. 16.