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Florida HS Football Title Games Coming to Miami


miami15
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Lame.

691850[/snapback]

meh to you

 

HS football is awesome

691854[/snapback]

 

I love HS football, however, I'd rather the state championships be played 1/2 mile from my dorm rather than 200 miles from my dorm.

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Title games coming to South Florida

 

After years in north and Central Florida, the state football championships will be played in Miami-Dade in 2005 and 2006.

 

By MANNY NAVARRO

 

mnavarro@herald.com

 

Goodbye, Gainesville. Hello, South Florida.

 

That's what the Florida High School Athletic Association announced Monday when it awarded the 2005 and 2006 state football championships to Miami-Dade County.

 

FIU Stadium will host the first weekend of the championships (Class 2A-2B-1A-1B) on Dec. 2-3, with Dolphins Stadium playing host the following weekend to the Class 3A-6A championships.

 

''It's fair to say this is long overdue,'' said Mike Sophia, executive director for the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, which teammed with the Greater Miami Athletic Conference to bid for the games.

 

'From the day I got here, the first question everybody asked me was, `Why can't we host the state football championships?' And they were right. This community deserves this.''

 

LONG TIME AWAY

 

South Florida hasn't hosted a state championship game since Miami Southridge lost to Bradenton Manatee at Tamiami Stadium in the 1983 Class 4A title game.

 

Local coaches were ecstatic to hear Monday's news.

 

Miami Carol City coach Walt Frazier, who coached the Chiefs to state titles in 1996, 1997 and 2003, said he's excited that South Florida fans will be able to enjoy the atmosphere of the big game.

 

Miami Booker T. Washington coach Tim ''Ice'' Harris pumped his fists when he heard the news at his team's track and field practice. Last year, Booker T. lost to Seffner Armwood 36-35 in a thrilling state semifinal playoff game played in front of more than 5,000 fans at Armwood.

 

With most of the team returning next season, Booker T. is considered one of the favorites to reach next season's Class 4A title game.

 

''I was already excited about the football season, but this gives us an even bigger boost,'' Harris said. ``I can see it now: a packed house, our fans going crazy.''

 

UNEXPECTED PRIZE

 

The news was a surprise.

 

Since the FHSAA began having all of its championships played at a neutral site in 1989, only three cities have played host to the football finals -- Gainesville, Tallahassee and Daytona Beach -- and all reside in the central or northern parts of the state.

 

The FHSAA has said in the past that its aim has been to select a central location, easily accessible for fans. Gainesville, which hosted the state finals each of the past two seasons, figured to be a shoe-in again when it was announced Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tallahassee were no longer in the running. But according to FHSAA commissioner Jon Stewart, Miami's bid was more appealing.

 

''Miami-Dade's bid was so good, it was a unanimous vote,'' said Stewart, one of five FHSAA members who voted between Miami and Gainesville on Monday.

 

'Almost a quarter of our members' schools and a third of the state population are located in Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. Thirty-three of the 116 schools that have reached the FHSAA finals in the past 10 years have come from those counties.

 

``They have traveled to Daytona Beach, Gainesville and even Tallahassee and not once complained they had to so. We think they are long overdue and deserve an opportunity to play close to home for a change.''

 

One problem with Gainesville's plan, according to Stewart: It had requested to host all eight championships in the same week.

 

''When you play eight games in four nights, the field can take a beating,'' Stewart said. ``The fact Miami had two different stadiums to offer on separate weekends was a big attraction.''

 

LURING FANS

 

The next job for Sophia and the GMAC is to attract plenty of fans. Part of Miami-Dade's bid to the FHSAA included a $175,000 guarantee. Sophia said the commission is hoping to draw a minimum of 40,000 fans for the two weekends.

 

Sophia and GMAC executive secretary Cheryl Golden think Dade won't have a problem drawing plenty more.

 

In 1998, 46,474 fans showed up to the Orange Bowl to watch Northwestern play Jackson in the annual Soul Bowl. Another 41,000 showed up the next year for the rematch.

 

With a Miami-Dade or Broward team a lock to be at least one of the representatives in the Class 6A title game under the current district setup through 2008, Golden believes the potential to draw more than 20,000 fans at Dolphins Stadium for the title game is a reality.

 

The largest crowd to watch a state championship game was 16,806, to see Coral Gables beat Jacksonville Wolfson at the Gator Bowl in 1967.

 

The largest overall attendance for games at a central site was 34,596 in Gainesville in 1997. That season, Carol City drew 12,323 fans for the Class 6A state title game, in which it beat Lake City Columbia 20-17. It was the only time in the past 30 years the FHSAA has managed to draw more than 10,000 to a single championship game.

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