Thursday, March 29, 2012

Ohio Traditions: High School Football

It's Spring Break so I'm digging into the archives for postings this week. was a social media concept for a website started back in 1995.  My website connected Ohioans all over the World with their fellow Ohioians still living in Ohio and elsewhere.  The site got national recognition in 1998 when featured by the Toledo Blade in a feature article and not one, but two editorials. This is an online revival of the Ohio Traditions columns that I wrote on the site 14 and 15 years ago.

Ohio Traditions: High School Football
by RickOHIO

November 1997 [UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 1999]

Ohioans are a rare breed. Known for hard work, Ohioans aren't fans of what comes easy. High school football fits that image too. That's why so many turn out for prep football in the Buckeye State.

They say you shouldn't build a church for Easter Sunday, but in Massillon, Ohio they built a stadium with room for 20,000 in a town with a population just over 30,000. The place was built with the big game of the year versus cross-county rival Canton McKinley in mind.

The big place has another use too. For 30-some times this decade, the state football association has held the high school football title games at Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. In 1999, it's scheduled for the first Friday and Saturday in December.

Massillon, even with it's stand-out record of over 700 wins and 22 state champion titles, isn't the only team with a strong high school football tradition in the Buckeye State. Down state, the Cincinnati Moeller tradition is strong too with more top-level state championships than any other team since Ohio started playoffs in 1972. Cleveland St. Ignatius and the McKinley Bulldogs are powerhouses too. In Steubenville, football is big too.

Perhaps more than any other state, Ohio's city streets and rural countrysides are dotted with high school football stadiums. From late August to late November, Fridays and Saturdays in Ohio are reserved for a little hard-hitting action.

It's no accident that the Ohio State Buckeyes have produced so many professional athletes over the years. The Ohio football tradition is solidly based in high school football.

It's also no accident that Ohioans were so angered to see their pro team, the Browns, stolen from them. Their love of the game is rooted in high school football.

This Ohio Tradition stands out for sure.

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