State football championships staying in Canton through 2023

Marion Local defeated Kirtland 34-11 to win a D-VI high school football state title at Canton on Sat., Dec. 2, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF
Marion Local defeated Kirtland 34-11 to win a D-VI high school football state title at Canton on Sat., Dec. 2, 2017. MARC PENDLETON / STAFF

OHSAA announces new three-year agreement

The seven Ohio state football championship games will take place at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton from 2021-23, the Ohio High School Athletic Association and Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Wednesday.

“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,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said in a press release. “We are grateful to the Hall of Fame for their partnership, and we look forward to collaborating with the Hall year-round.”

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Last year, the Division I state championship game took place at Fortress Obetz on the south side of Columbus, and the other six finals were played in Massillon because of Franklin County’s stay-at-home order.

The championship games were played in Massillon and Canton from 1990-2013, moved to Ohio Stadium in Columbus for three years and then returned to Canton’s Tom Benson Stadium from 2017-2019. They were scheduled to be played there again in 2020, but the games were moved to a smaller venue because of the pandemic.

“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 CEO Steve Strawbridge in a press release. “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.”