Mercedes-Benz Stadium set to strengthen GHSA’s state championship tradition

Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Georgia high school football has long been recognized for its statewide greatness and each December when the state championships roll around it is easy to see why. A competitive spirit emanates from every corner of the Peach State throughout the season, but only during the state championships can programs share the stage to compete for Georgia’s ultimate prize.

Eight decades have passed since the GHSA crowned the first Georgia state champion and while the tradition remains the same, the significant growth of the championship spotlight has strengthened it. The Georgia Dome provided Georgia high school football with a stage for twenty-five years, saying its farewell last December with an eight-game, two-day marathon of state championship action. A total of 290 Georgia high school football games and 171 different schools shared the dome’s spotlight over the years; now, it’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s turn.

The breathtaking venue already has the pride of Georgia high school football built into its groundbreaking design. The helmet of every GHSA school can be found prominently displayed on the 100 concourse near section 130 on the GHSA Homegrown Legends Helmet Wall. This display was built off a tradition that started at the Georgia Dome, but more features and history have been included (there is also a key on each side of the wall to help fans find their team’s helmet). At the upper left of the helmet wall, each reigning state champion is represented. A Homegrown Legends display runs underneath the helmets at eye level for fans to enjoy photos and bits of history from some of the greatest players to ever come through Georgia high school football. The group includes five Pro Football Hall of Famers and other all-time greats like Johnson County’s Herschel Walker, Charlton County’s Champ Bailey and Creekside’s Eric Berry.

“I think it’s awesome,” said GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines. “The helmet wall is tremendous and the memorabilia is also exciting to look at. There is so much state pride and history on that wall. One of my favorite pieces is former Falcons running back William Andrews’ Thomasville High School letter sweater. That’s my home school and it’s special to see the pride of Georgia high school football built into this incredible stadium.”


Only five of the 16 teams that punched their tickets to Mercedes-Benz Stadium this weekend are Metro Atlanta schools and the teams will travel more than 1,650 miles from across the state to share the championship stage. Centered right in the heart of downtown Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is the crown of the surrounding skyline. Spectacular views of the southeastern metropolis can be seen from its naturally-lit concourses and seating through a 163- foot-high entrance known as the Window to the City. This picturesque backdrop will make this year’s state championships feel like they are being played right in the heart of Atlanta and an exciting new era for Georgia high school football will begin.

“This is the ultimate venue in all the world,” said Hines. “The whole experience is going to be incredible.”

The GHSA will celebrate eight decades of state championship history both Friday and Saturday. The ceremonies will take place before the final two games on both days and will honor 28 different title-winning schools.

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