State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

High School Football at Beaver Stadium Might Happen This Year

by on August 03, 2019 3:37 PM

High school football could be coming to Beaver Stadium as early as this season.

The news that the home of the Nittany Lions could become a brief home for two of the state’s high school teams was first reported by WMSS-FM broadcaster Eric Thomas on Friday.

Penn State athletics confirmed the interest in hosting a game with the following statement:  “[The department] wishes to provide an opportunity for one Pennsylvania high school football game to be played in Beaver Stadium this fall. We are working with the appropriate officials regarding the details.”

While plenty of of the state’s premier high school teams could take the sidelines, State College Area High School would be among the most natural choices, especially as the renovation of Memorial Field sends the Little Lions away from their downtown home this year. Two different home games for the Little Lions fall during times Penn State would be on the road or otherwise away that week.

The appeal for high school football at Beaver Stadium is a multi-faceted one. For one, it continues to expand the profile of non-Penn State events held within the stadium. Additionally it provides proof-of-concept when it comes to a larger goal: hosting PIAA title games.

“We’d love to host the state championship games here,” James Franklin said on Saturday. "I think there’s a lot of reasons that makes sense. I think it’d be exciting for kids to have the opportunity to do that."

The PIAA currently plays its title games at Hershey Park Stadium, and according to Thomas that deal runs out in two years.

"Our number one focus is on Penn State and our football program, so we’re not going to do anything that would cause challenges or issues there,” Franklin said. “But when we can be great partners in our community and great partners in our state, and provide a great experience in this community and in the state of Pennsylvania, and promote athletics and high school football in our state, we want to try and do it. 

“I don’t think you’re going to see it very often, but when we do it, it makes sense.”

No timetable has been announced as it pertains to the decision.

Beaver Stadium has hosted a PIAA Championship game once before. In 1988, the first year the PIAA held statewide football playoffs, Penn State was one of four host sites for the championship games. Pittsburgh Central Catholic defeated Cedar Cliff (featuring future Nittany Lion great Kyle Brady), 14-7, to win the 4A title at Beaver Stadium.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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