Tacoma area gets state championship football games

Tacoma Dome is out, but title games to be played in Tacoma, Puyallup, and Lakewood

The Tacoma Dome is no longer “The Destination” for Washington high school football teams, but three stadiums in the Tacoma area have been selected to host the six state championship games Dec. 7.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Monday that Mt. Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma, Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, and Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood will each hold two state championship games.

The Tacoma Dome had held all state championship games since the 1995 season. However, rising costs and a revised seating configuration left the dome as undesirable. The WIAA announced earlier this year that the dome was no longer in its football plans. 

The WIAA did want the games to be played close together, though, so fans would have the opportunity to go to more than one game. A ticket purchased at one site is good for any of the sites. The three stadiums are within 13 miles of each other. 

However, each stadium will host a noon game and a 4 p.m. game, so nobody would be able to watch more than two games.  

When the dome was the lone site, two championship games were played Friday, and then four were played on Saturday. 

Under the new plan, the Class 4A game in Tacoma and the Class 2A game in Puyallup are both scheduled for 4 p.m. While no one can predict who will be in the championship games, for Clark County fans, one possible scenario would be having a 2A team and a 4A team in the finals. It happened last year with Hockinson and Union. 

This year, Hockinson is still among the favorites in the state, and the 4A GSHL is loaded, led by undefeated Camas. If the county has teams in the 2A and 4A finals, fans would not be able to watch both games. 

The WIAA also announced that if two teams from the eastern or central regions of the state were to play each other in the championship games, those teams would have the option of playing each other at a stadium closer to their home base. 

The WIAA confirmed with Clark County Today this afternoon that Southwest Washington teams  would not have that option. 

Two Clark County teams have never played each other in a state championship football game. In 2016, Camas and Skyview each reached the state semifinals. This year, Camas, Union, and Skyview have been ranked among the state’s best Class 4A teams. 

Still, if two of those teams were to make it to the final game this year, the WIAA says that game will be played in Tacoma. 

Here is the schedule. All games Dec. 7, 2019:

Mt. Tahoma Stadium (Tacoma)
Noon: Class 1B
4 p.m.: Class 4A

Sparks Stadium (Puyallup)
Noon: Class 3A
4 p.m.: Class 2A 

Harry E. Lang Stadium (Lakewood)
Noon: Class 2B
4 p.m.: Class 1A

Here is the WIAA’s press release:

RENTON, Wash. – The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board voted on Monday to approve three venues to host the 2019 WIAA Football State Championships. The six Championship games will be held at Sparks Stadium (Puyallup) Harry E. Lang Stadium (Lakewood) and Mt. Tahoma Stadium (Tacoma).

All games will be scheduled as doubleheaders on December 7 with the first game kicking off at noon followed by a 4 p.m. start for the second. Mt. Tahoma Stadium will host the 1B and 4A Championships, Sparks Stadium will host the 3A and 2A Championships while Harry E. Lang Stadium will host the 1A and 2B Championships.

The three stadiums are located within 13 miles of one another which will allow fans the possibility to see multiple games during the day. A ticket purchased at any location will provide valid entry for all three sites.

“The mission of the WIAA staff and Executive Board was to find three locations that were close in proximity to each other and could handle the needs of a WIAA State Championship,” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “We are grateful for each of the site managers who made these great stadiums available as we believe they will provide a terrific atmosphere for the biggest games of the year.”

The Board approved the sites and times but also noted that if two schools from similar geographic areas in central or eastern Washington advance to a Championship game, they may have the option to play the game locally at a mutually agreed upon site pending WIAA approval. If agreement from the three parties cannot be reached, the game will be played as originally scheduled.

The Tacoma Dome hosted the WIAA Gridiron Classic since the 1995 season, however rising rental fees and a revised seating configuration led to the Executive Board’s decision to move in a different direction at its May meeting.

WIAA State Football Championships Sites

1B Championship: Mt. Tahoma Stadium – (Tacoma, WA) – 12 p.m.

2B Championship: Harry E. Lang Stadium – (Lakewood, WA) – 4 p.m.

1A Championship: Harry E. Lang Stadium – (Lakewood, WA) – 12 p.m.

2A Championship: Sparks Stadium – (Puyallup, WA) – 4 p.m.

3A Championship: Sparks Stadium – (Puyallup, WA) – 12 p.m.

4A Championship: Mt. Tahoma Stadium – (Tacoma, WA) – 4 p.m.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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