The move might not be permanent, but on July 21 the OHSAA's board of directors decided to at least give Ohio State another shot at playing host to the football state championship games.

The move might not be permanent, but on July 21 the OHSAA's board of directors decided to at least give Ohio State another shot at playing host to the football state championship games.

For nearly two decades those games have been played in Stark County at Canton's Fawcett Stadium or Massillon's Paul Brown Tiger Stadium. The OHSAA's decision brings the six state championship games to Ohio Stadium in 2014 and 2015.

"Through the 2015 state finals, the board of directors at any point can vote on what (the state championship weekend is) going to look like after 2015," OHSAA spokesman Tim Stried said. "They don't have to wait until after we've been in Columbus. Over the next several years, the board will continue to have discussions."

Stried said the reaction the OHSAA has received statewide has been mostly positive. There are dissenters who wanted to keep the games in Stark County, where they've been exclusively since 1991 and partially since 1990.

"(Stark County) does a great job up there," said Licking Valley coach Randy Baughman, whose teams lost state championship games in 2007 and 2008. "They treat you well. With that said, I'm tickled to see them back in central Ohio. It will be easier to get to and I think it just adds a lot of excitement to get an opportunity to play in that stadium."

The OHSAA board of directors couldn't come to a final vote that brought the games solely to Columbus for the upcoming contract. Instead, the board of directors struck a compromise that keeps the games in Stark County until 2012.

Working in Columbus' favor was its centralized location and the facilities that Ohio State can offer, including an indoor practice facility at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex. Opponents of the move cited the lack of intimacy at Ohio State, saying there would be too many unoccupied seats for a high school football game.

Kyle Annis, an offensive tackle for Hilliard Davidson, played in both Ohio Stadium and Fawcett Stadium last year. He said both places were special.

"I was pretty excited to hear it was coming back (to Columbus)," said Annis, whose team beat Cleveland Glenville 16-15 to win the Division I state title last season. "Anywhere (they play) the state championship, it's going to be a special game. Maybe it would be a little more exciting (in Columbus). I don't think it would make it anymore special."

Davidson opened its season last year in the Kirk Herbstreit Varsity Football Series at Ohio Stadium, beating Westerville South 24-10. A tarp was used to cover some of the empty seats for the six games played there.

Baughman remembers going to state championship games as a spectator before they were moved from Ohio State in 1989, which ended the stadium's 37-year run of being the championship site.

"We used to go over to all of them," Baughman said. "Just the awesomeness of that stadium from a fans perspective, it was still loud and exciting. I couldn't imagine what it must be like coming out of that tunnel with the history that goes along with that stadium."