James Franklin wants Penn State to host the PIAA football championships at Beaver Stadium

(Allentown) Morning Call (TNS)
James Franklin

Penn State’s Beaver Stadium has hosted just one PIAA football championship game. Coach James Franklin thinks it’s time for another.

At Penn State’s football media day Saturday, Franklin said that he would “love” for the nation’s second-largest stadium to host Pennsylvania’s high-school football championships.

“I think there are a lot of reasons why that makes sense,” Franklin said. “We’re in the center part of the state. I think it would be exciting for kids to have the opportunity to do that, and you see that in other states as well. So there’s some opportunities there, and we’re going to look at them.”

Penn State said Friday that it is working with several high school programs to bring a regular-season game to Beaver Stadium this fall. The news first was reported by broadcaster Eric Thomas of WMSS-FM in Harrisburg.

Penn State’s schedule affords its best opportunity for a high school game in September and October. The Lions are away from Beaver Stadium the weekends of September 21 and 28, when they have a bye week and road game at Maryland. Penn State also plays road games at Iowa (Oct. 12) and Michigan State (Oct. 26).

State College High would be a natural to play at Beaver Stadium, since its stadium is closed for renovations until 2020.

As for the state championships, Beaver Stadium has hosted just one: the inaugural Class 4A title game in 1988 between Pittsburgh Central Catholic and Cedar Cliff. Hersheypark Stadium has hosted all the title games since 1998.

“Obviously our No. 1 focus is on Penn State and our football program and our athletic department and our university, so we are 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 when we can be great partners in our state, and provide a great experience in this community and for the state of Pennsylvania, and that’s going to promote athletics going to promote college football and high school football in our state, you know we want to try to do it.

“I don’t think it’s going to be something you see very often, but there’s going to be some times where it does make sense.”