The upcoming Ohio High School Athletic Association football state championships will be hosted by Fortress Obetz, a multi-purpose sports complex located in Obetz on the southeast side of Columbus. The Division I state championship will take place as previously announced on Friday, Nov. 13, while the finals in Divisions II through VII will be played on Nov. 20, 21 and 22 (Friday through Sunday), with two games each day.
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton had hosted the football finals for the last three years, but attendance limitations currently set by the Ohio Health Director’s Sports Order are at 1,500 spectators per game due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fortress Obetz has an 8,000-seat grandstand that will be set up to socially distance 1,500 total fans. The facility, which includes Memorial Park and totals 50 acres, opened in 2017 on the former site of the Columbus Motor Speedway and is also the new home of the OHSAA cross country state championships, which will be held there Saturday, Nov. 7.
“Fortress Obetz is an outstanding facility and we are grateful for the partnership with the Village of Obetz and stadium director Steve Adams,” said OHSAA Executive Director Doug Ute. “The teams will get to play on a fantastic field and the large grandstand will allow us to permit the maximum number of fans to see their teams play for state titles. Obetz is excited to host the football state championship games and we are pleased to find a partner during these uncertain times.”
Fortress Obetz was built to host sporting events, concerts, festivals and more. It was the home of the Ohio Machine professional lacrosse team from 2017-19. The facility has five video boards, concessions, restrooms and several parking areas outside the stadium.
“Fortress Obetz and our entire community are very excited and proud to partner with the Ohio High School Athletic Association and their member schools during this challenging and unprecedented football season,” said Steve Adams, National Director of Athletic Operations and Facilities Promotion, Village of Obetz.
2020 OHSAA Football State Championships Schedule
Friday, November 13 – Division I state championship, 7 p.m.
Friday, November 20 – Division II, III or VII state championship, 2 p.m.
Friday, November 20 – Division II, III or VII state championship, 7 p.m.
Saturday, November 21 – Division II, III, IV, V, VI or VII state championship, 2 p.m.
Saturday, November 21 – Division II, III, IV, V, VI or VII state championship, 7 p.m.
Sunday, November 22 – Division IV, V or VI state championship, Noon
Sunday, November 22 – Division IV, V or VI state championship, 5 p.m.
DIVISION I STATE SEMIFINAL PAIRINGS
Both games at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 6
Mentor (home) vs. Pickerington Central (visitor) at New Philadelphia Woody Hayes Quaker Stadium
Cincinnati St. Xavier (home) vs. Springfield (visitor) at Piqua Alexander Stadium
Division I State Championship Game – Friday, November 13 at Fortress Obetz, 7 p.m.
DIVISION II THROUGH VII REGIONAL FINALS
On October 22, the OHSAA informed schools that the better-seeded team would determine the site for the regional finals, which can be at the better-seeded team’s home stadium or another site of their choosing. Later this week, the OHSAA will announce how the regions will be paired for the state semifinal games in Divisions II through VII Nov. 13-14. The OHSAA will select neutral sites for the state semifinal games. Of note, many traditional host sites are not available to serve as neutral sites due to the COVID-19 pandemic.