The Georgia High School Association has announced that it will move the location of the football finals from Mercedes Benz Stadium to Georgia State Stadium. This move will greatly benefit the Georgia State Football program.
The announcement recently came down, that the GHSA is moving the location of its championship games to Georgia State Stadium. The title showdowns for all eight Georgia high school football classifications, will now be held at the home of Georgia State Football on December 13 and 14. The championship matchups have been played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium since it opened in 2017. Prior to that, the title games had been played in the Georgia Dome, since the GHSA moved the games to a neutral site location in 2008. Moving the series will save the association about 50 percent in stadium rental fees. WALB.com, the website for WALB 10 news in Albany, Georgia offers this article by Dave Miller on the change of venues for the GHSA Championships.
Georgia State Stadium the new venue for the Georgia High School Football Championships, is a stadium that is rich in history and tradition. It was originally Centennial Olympic Stadium and hosted the track and field events for the 1996 Summer Olympics upon its opening. It was in that stadium where we saw memorable performances such as Gail Devers winning gold in the 100 meter dash, Allen Johnson claiming victory in the 110 meter hurdles, Derrek Adkins claiming the 400 meter crown and Carl Lewis dominating the long jump competition. Dan O’Brien of the famous Dan and Dave Nike ad campaign, prevailed in the decathlon. Most notably Michael Johnson took home gold medals in the 200 and 400 meter races.
Following the Olympic games, Centennial Olympic Stadium was converted into Turner Field and became the new home of the Atlanta Braves. During their time at Turner Field, the Braves won nine division titles in a row and 11 total. The stadium hosted games in 16 playoff series, as well as the first National League Wild Card Game. People who visited Turner Field for baseball games, were able to see performances from Braves legends such as John Smoltz, Greg Maddox, Chipper Jones and Tom Glavine. Several of manager Bobby Cox’s MLB record number of ejections, also took place at Turner Field.
Turner Field was converted into a football stadium in 2017 to become the home of the Georgia State Football program and the new location for all Panthers home games. When asked about the move, Georgia State Athletic Director Charlie Cobb responded with this statement:
"“Georgia State is honored to host the eight GHSA state championships this December. It is exciting for us to know that the culminating point for high school football throughout the state is Georgia State Stadium. Our staff will showcase a first-class experience for the players, coaches, and fans of the participating teams.”"
The Georgia High School Association moving the championship games to Georgia State Stadium, will help revenue and be a tremendous boost to the Panthers’ recruiting. Athletes will get a first hand look at the quality of the school’s game day facilities if their teams make the title game for their classification. The hope is that this will persuade many of the talented Georgia high school football players, to choose GSU over other schools of similar stature. This could be the first step in Georgia State Football closing the gap between and eventually challenging Georgia Tech, as the best college football team in the city of Atlanta. As for catching up with the Georgia Bulldogs, the Panthers have an extremely long way to go. One thing is for sure, there is enough high school talent in the state of Georgia to go around, for all three institutions to be very good football programs. Going forward, a lot of that talent will be showcased at Georgia State Stadium.