Agreeing to a one-year contract with the University of Washington this week, the WIAA announced Tuesday that all six football state championships will be played at Husky Stadium in Seattle this fall.
The games will be played across two days, with three games on December 1 and then three more the next day. The 1B, 1A, and 3A classifications will play on Friday while the 2B, 2A, and 4A classifications will play on Saturday. Individual game times will be finalized at a later date.
“We are thankful to the University of Washington Athletics leadership team for their continued support and allowing students to make lifelong memories at a world-class facility,” WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said in a release. “We are hopeful that this format will provide a positive experience for the schools involved and will be embraced by the Washington football community.”
The venue and format were approved on a one-year trial basis, with plans to rebid and find a consistent home for the 2024-28 classification cycle, per the release.
The news comes after several rocky years at the WIAA’s most recent venues in Pierce County: Harry E. Lang, Sparks, and Mount Tahoma Stadiums.
From 1977 to 1994, the state championships were held at the Kingdome in downtown Seattle before the games were moved south to the Tacoma Dome in 1995.
The championships stayed there until rising costs and poor attendance forced the WIAA to split up the games into three high school stadiums near Tacoma in Harry Lang, Sparks, and Mount Tahoma in 2019.
Onalaska played in the first 2B championship game at Harry E. Lang in 2019, and Napavine has made back-to-back appearances in the 2B title game in 2021 and 2022.
Tumwater has also made several appearances in the last few years, in 2021 and 2019 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.
In an interview with SBLive’s Todd Milles, Hoffman said coaches who played in recent state championships advocated for longer times between kickoffs to accommodate limited locker room access, which was an issue at each high school venue.
SBLive reported kickoff times will be at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. each day.
The site also reported that if the one-year trial works out well, Husky Stadium could turn into a more permanent host for football championships when the WIAA reassesses for the next five-year cycle (2024-28).