Rogers, Over and Out: Stark raving mad…State FB Finals may have found permanent home

Rogers, Over and Out

By Tim Rogers

Don’t expect championships to return to Canton until at least 2018 – if ever

My late father made a frequent habit of telling me that you often had to wait for good things to happen, that good fortune did not arrive overnight. Or over a week, a month, a year.

Maybe that was his logic in preventing me from getting a driver’s license until I was 18. You know, that I would appreciate it more, yadda-yadda-yaddda.

JJH_RogersThat is sort of the situation facing the residents of Stark County as they hopefully await the return of the OHSAA’s state football championships.

Here are some words of advice and a couple of thoughts:

At the very least, the wait will be longer than first anticipated.

I am not sure where Massillon’s Paul Brown Tiger Stadium fits into this, if at all.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for the playoffs to leave cavernous Ohio Stadium. Ever.

Originally, the OHSAA said it was possible that OSU and Stark County would alternate hosting the playoffs under two-year contracts. The scenario of OSU hosting in 2014-15 and Stark County in 2016-17 – and the two sites alternating every two years thereafter — was a serious option.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame, adjacent to Fawcett Stadium, is about to undergo a face-lift and expansion of mega proportions. The option of returning to Stark County for 2016 is out of the equation. The area surrounding Fawcett and the Hall will be a construction mess.

So, OSU will be the site in 2015, 2016 and probably 2017, if the OHSAA holds true to its desire for two-year contracts.

Despite the abundance of empty seats, last week’s seven-game playoffs were a rousing success. Attendance was up over the previous year by more than 2,700 per game. Many of the athletes questioned said they loved playing there. Traffic jams were minimal. Tickets were not too exorbitant ($12 single game at the gate, $10 in advance). All seven games had some kind of hook, either they were great games or there were great individual performances. Coaches and fans from southeastern Ohio did not have to whine about a long drive.

According to a story in the Canton Repository, Stark County lost an estimated $4.3 million by not having the playoffs. That’s a major hit for any area, especially a region that is attempting a comeback from job loss and brain drain.

The biggest hope for Stark Countians is 2018. By that time the additions at the HOF and Fawcett should be finished, complete with an adjoining hotel. Perhaps the OHSAA will fall in love with the conception and have Fawcett serve as the sole site, just as Ohio Stadium served last week.

And, perhaps HOF President David Baker will exert some pressure on the decision makers, just as former OSU coach Jim Tressell did several years ago when he decided Ohio Stadium would be a more suitable site. Baker is a big man, literally and figuratively, and his influence cannot be ignored.

GOOD NEWS: Nordonia freshman Tye Evans, who was injured and carted off the field on a stretcher in the closing moments of the Knights’ loss to Cincinnati LaSalle in the Division II title game, suffered no serious injuries. Athletic director Rob Eckenrode said Evans, who scored Nordonia’s first touchdown in the loss, is getting ready for the basketball season.

“He had a pretty good headache and was pretty banged up, but a CAT-scan was performed and it showed no serious injury,” Eckenrode said.

FINAL SCORE: Private schools 4, Midwest Athletic Conference 3. With Division I St. Edward, Division II Cincinnati LaSalle and Division III Toledo Central Catholic winning, it gave private schools a 3-2 edge in the five games in which public schools went head-to-head against private schools. With Cleveland Benedictine beating Archbishop Kettering Alter in Division IV, private schools had a 4-3 edge overall. The three public school state champs – Coldwater (Division V), Marion Local (Division VII) and Minster (Division VI) – all are members of the MAC.

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