The Georgia High School Association, which postponed six of its eight state championship football games this weekend because of a winter storm, explored the option of taking them to a neutral site but opted instead to play the games at school sites.
The GHSA, citing safety concerns following Friday’s wintery weather, called off the two state championship football games scheduled for Friday and all four scheduled for Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Those six unplayed championship games will be hosted at school sites, despite consideration to bring the games back to the Atlanta area at a large facility, either Georgia State or McEachern High School.
Playing at either neutral site would have guaranteed seating for all fans who have already purchased tickets, as well as sufficient parking, concessions and safety.
One sticking point is stadium capacity. Both Blessed Trinity and Marist pre-sold 3,000-plus tickets to their Class AAAA championship game, but Marist’s Hughes Spalding Memorial Stadium seats about 4,500.
Another ongoing concern is how to treat tickets purchased for the championships at Mercedes-Benz. More than 1,000 fans from Rome were already in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Friday afternoon when they learned the game had been postponed. The GHSA has not yet said how that problem will be addressed.
All the games will not be televised, either. Moving the games to a neutral site would have allowed Georgia Public Broadcasting to show all the games.
Under the emergency guidelines published by the GHSA last week, the higher-seeded team earned the right to host the game. In case of two equally seeded teams, a coin flip determined the site. Warner Robins and Rabun County won a coin flip and will host their championship games.
The championship schedule is: Class AAAAAAA, Colquitt County at North Gwinnett, Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Class AAAAAA, Coffee at Lee County, Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Class AAAAA, Rome at Warner Robins, Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Class AAAA, Blessed Trinity at Marist, Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Class AA, Hapeville Charter at Rabun County, Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Class A Public, Clinch County at Irwin County, date and time to be determined.