Saturday, December 7, 2013

Thoughts on the OHSAA State Football Championship

       If you were at the Ohio High School Football State Championship game Thursday night or at any games on Friday or are going today, here are some things to remember about the Canton-Massillon area hosting the games. First, I will tell you that the games will be moved to Columbus, and presumably Ohio State University next year,
      As you think back, think about the easiness to get to each venue. A short drive off of State Route 30 to get to Paul Brown and even shorter route to get to Fawcett. No real rush hour traffic, especially on a Friday night.
      Once your arrive at either stadium, the parking is really easy and plenty of room. Room for RV's, tailgating, and cars. No shuttle service needed, because of the convenience, because ample parking near by.
      The security people are both Fawcett and Paul Brown do a really good job with what their job entails. For some reason at Ohio Stadium, security are supposed to receive almost ten dollars more per hour. But really they are doing the same job.
      Paul Brown and Fawcett get you almost on top of the field from the stands. At both venues you are right on top of the action. As I remember at Ohio Stadium, you are back further from the field. As I watched the Thursday night game on my flat screen, a lot of empty seats. That perception is bad at both Fawcett and Paul Brown, but since they are both high school stadiums, there is still that high school atmosphere. At Ohio Stadium, with seating for 105,000 plus, there may not be that same high school atmosphere.
      For years the Ohio North-South All Star Classic was played at Massillon and Canton, but a few years ago, the Columbus Visitors Bureau made a pitch and a huge sales job to bring it to Columbus. Last year the game was played in Dayton. The general walk-up fans are so much more in the Massillon - Canton area, because that is football. Columbus area, general fan traffic is not as much. Selling tickets is still really, really important.
       When this change in sites was being talked about, my question was always, "What happens when Coach Tressel were ever to leave?" Coach Jim Tressel was the driving force in trying to get the State Championships to Ohio Stadium. Well organized and a real friend of the Football Coaches Association, he got it done. I always remember when Coach John Cooper was here, he wanted no part of any high school football at Ohio State.
      But with some politicking and a huge presentation, the games will be played next year at Ohio Stadium, and I would guess a high school site  would also be needed. Crew Stadium is really expensive, unless a deal is cut. I was told the change to the Columbus area will be evaluated after the games.
      For me, the trip to C-bus and Ohio Stadium is 55 minutes. To the Canton - Massillon area just under two hours. Common sense for me would be to favor C-bus and Ohio State University, but, being a "high school guy," I would drive the extra hour. However, weather conditions during the games always dictate, even if I had to drive 10 minutes to Upper Sandusky High School's field.
      For some reason, the OHSAA decided to play the seventh game on Thursday night this year, instead of Sunday afternoon. The OHSAA, as most fans know, went to seven divisions this year. Excellent move. More teams get to be involved in the playoffs. My problem - A lot of late night travel for teams on Thursday. They waited to make the game between the two teams that had less travel. Akron was a short trip. Trotwood Madison - maybe not. Either way, two schools are missing two days of school.
      Three games on Friday. Three games on Saturday. One game Sunday afternoon at 2:00. Just a thought.
      A funny!! In the Playoff Manual that goes to every school hosting a playoff game, there is a section in large print - NO SCOUTING SERVICE allowed along the sidelines. There are recruiting services and,, and a few recruiting reporters. I may be the only scouting service in Ohio. Scouting Ohio does a good job at scouting, but be promotes himself as a recruiting service. In a way I feel honored that I am the only person in Ohio that has a rule in the Playoff manual. Years ago that would have annoyed me, but at 65, no, not now.
     The Ohio High School State Football Championships are always exciting and bring out the best in the communities' spirits. A lot of work among volunteers and local people. As most know, without local help and cooperation, things would not goes as well.
      The best of all is that many high school football players get the thrill of not only playing in the game, but also to represent their communities. Sadly, the State Championship game is the last organized football game that many will ever play.

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