Big test for Tom Benson Pro Football Hall of Fame Stadium this weekend

Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is ready for state high school football title games. (Source: WOIO)
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is ready for state high school football title games. (Source: WOIO)

CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton has a big test on its hands this weekend that could pay off with a long term contract for Ohio high school football.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) has brought all of its football title games back to Canton for the first time since 2013.

This weekend 14 teams will play state title games in the newly renovated stadium starting Thursday night with Archbishop Hoban (13-1) taking on No. 2 Cincinnati Winton Woods game.

For decades there has been a battle surrounding where the titles games should be played, either in Columbus or Canton, and many of the decisions were based on grass.

In the 1980's the games were played in Columbus at the Horseshoe, until Ohio State installed natural grass and kicked the OHSAA and its games out. Playing 7 title games on one field in the late fall can have quite the impact on a field.

That's when the games were moved to Canton and were played there from 1990 to 2013.

When Ohio State went back to a turf in 2013 it asked for the games to come back to Columbus.

The timing worked out since the Hall of Fame Stadium was set to undergo major renovation.

Now that it's complete the game it back in Canton but just for this year.

The OHSAA has only contract to play in Canton for this season. There is no contract for any stadium for 2018

The average attendance for the seven games is expected to be around 9,000.

Visit Canton, the tourism board for Stark County, has said the economic impact for the weekend is estimated at $4.3 million with hotel stays, restaurants and entertainment.

Schedule of games:

  • Thursday, Nov. 30
  • Div. II – No. 5 Akron Archbishop Hoban (13-1) vs. No. 2 Cincinnati Winton Woods (13-1), 7:30 p.m.
  • Friday, Dec. 1
  • Div. VII – No. 5 Cuyahoga Heights (12-1) vs. Minster (10-4), 10 a.m.
  • Div. V – No. 3 Wheelersburg (14-0) vs. No. 1 Pemberville Eastwood (14-0), 3 p.m.
  • Div. I – No. 8 Pickerington Central (13-1) vs. No. 6 Mentor (13-1), 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 2
  • Div. VI – No. 1 Maria Stein Marion Local (14-0) vs. No. 2 Kirtland (14-0), 10 a.m.
  • Div. IV – No. 7 Clarksville Clinton-Massie (13-1) vs. No. 1 Steubenville (14-0), 3 p.m.
  • Div. III – Dresden Tri-Valley (13-1) vs. No. 1 Trotwood-Madison (14-0), 8 p.m.

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