OHSAA football championships back in Canton

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The Ohio High School Athletic Association is bringing its state football championship games back to the shadows of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute and members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board formally announced a three-year contract, beginning in 2021, to play all seven state title games at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“We couldn’t be happier about being here and the relationship with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Visit Canton,” Ute said during a 25-minute media conference. “We wanted to be somewhere that wanted us.”

The schedule of games will follow the same as it’s been since the OHSAA expanded to seven divisions in 2013. There will be a single game played on Thursday night and then a trio of games to be staged on both Friday and Saturday.

“The number one thing we want is a wow factor for our student-athletes,” Ute said. “(Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium) and the hall of fame provides that. We want the 14 communities that come here in December to have a great experience.”

The state title games are certainly no stranger to Stark County. Actually, they were held just minutes away from Canton — in Massillon — last December after originally being slated for Fortress Obetz in Columbus. The late switch was necessitated because of the now defunct state-wide COVID map declaring Franklin County as purple.

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