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State championship games to return to Canton

Springfield and Anna line up at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium during a Div. VI state championship game in 2019 in Canton. The Ohio High School Athletic Association and the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Wednesday that the state championship football games will return to the facility. (Photo by Ron Firth)

CANTON — The Ohio High School Athletic Association and Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday announced a three-year agreement for the Hall to host the state football championships in Canton. The games, across Ohio’s seven divisions, will be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium beginning in the fall.

Pro Football Hall of Fame Chief Administrative Officer Steve Strawbridge and OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute addressed the media at a news conference on 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,” Ute said. “We are grateful to the Hall of Fame for their partnership, and we look forward to collaborating with the Hall year-round.”

Canton, Massillon and Ohio State University have hosted the state football championships at various points over the past 30 years. With its ties to the game and Canton’s rich history, the OHSAA believed the Pro Football Hall of Fame was the ideal place to host the state football championships.

“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,” Strawbridge said. “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.”

Visit Canton, which first hosted the state football championships starting in 1990 and most recently in Canton from 2017-19, will continue to be a sponsor and partner of the events.

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