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OHSAA moves state football games to Massillon

Warren JFK plays on Friday and Springfield on Sunday.
EvanOhlin2
Evan Ohlin (white jersey) played wide receiver for Springfield in the 2019 Division VI state championship game against Anna at Canton's Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Sunday, the Tigers will play Coldwater in the state finale that has been moved to Massillon. (Photo courtesy of Springfield High School)

COLUMBUS — This weekend's six state football championship games now will be played at Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon.

Two Mahoning Valley teams are still alive. On Friday, Warren JFK (9-2) will take on New Bremen (9-2) in the Division VII championship game at 1:15 p.m.

On Sunday, Springfield (11-0) will battle Coldwater (11-0) in the Div. VI title contest at 5:15 p.m.

The state championship games were scheduled to be played at Obetz Fortress, a Columbus suburb. But on Wednesday, the Franklin County Department of Health and the Columbus Department of Health issued a new health advisory recommending the games not be played in Franklin County because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This morning, the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced the games will be played in Massillon. 

“Completing this weekend’s state championship games is very important to the schools, student-athletes and communities, so we felt strongly about finding a place to play,” said Doug Ute, OHSAA executive director, in a news release. “These 12 schools just want to play and we thank them for accepting this change. We would also like to especially thank Massillon Washington High School for stepping up to host, and also Hoban for agreeing to play there.”

Paul Brown Tiger Stadium served as a host of the OHSAA football state championships from 1990 through 2013.

Springfield is playing in its second straight state championship game, finishing state runner-up last December.

Friday night in the Div. II title game, Akron Archbishop Hoban High School (10-0) has agreed to play Massillon Washington (10-1) on Massillon’s home field. The OHSAA has designated Hoban as the home team in the game.

The other games are: 

  • Division V — Saturday, 1:15 p.m., Kirtland (10-0) vs. Ironton (11-0).
  • Division III — Saturday, 6:15 p.m., Columbus St. Francis DeSales (9-1) vs. Chardon (11-0).
  • Division IV — Sunday, 12:15 p.m., Van Wert (10-1) vs. Mentor Lake Catholic (8-2).

“This is a big change at the 11th hour, but Massillon Washington can accommodate these games and the number of fans that are permitted to attend,” said Beau Rugg, OHSAA Senior Director of Officiating and Sport Management and the OHSAA’s football administrator. “We are pleased to be playing football this weekend and are excited that these 12 schools will be able to finish their seasons.”

The Franklin County and Columbus health advisory recommends a pause on all extra-curricular activities for schools and asks all persons to be home by 6 p.m. Stark County has not issued a similar advisory.

“Fortress Obetz was excited to host these games and we appreciate all the work that they put into preparations,” Ute said

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