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Football title games moved to Massillon

The two Mahoning Valley high school football teams — Springfield and Kennedy — playing in state championship games this weekend won’t have as far to go, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

A new health advisory issued on Wednesday by the Franklin County Department of Health and the Columbus Department of Health recommends the games not be played in Franklin County. With that, the OHSAA is moving the six title games, scheduled Friday through Sunday, to Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon. The games were scheduled to be played at Fortress Obetz in southeast Columbus.

The schedule remains the same with Kennedy kicking off the weekend at 1:15 p.m. Friday in the Division VII title game against New Bremen.

Springfield closes out the weekend in the Division VI championship against Coldwater on Sunday at 5:15 p.m.

The decision came Thursday morning after discussions with officials at Obetz and Franklin County. The OHSAA met virtually with the 12 finalist schools at 11:30 a.m. to inform them and answer questions.

“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,” OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute said. “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.”

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

“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.”

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