By Angel Verdejo
and Nick Talbot
Killeen Daily Herald
It might be better for television or scheduling, but not every coach was in favor of the measure passed down Tuesday by the University Interscholastic League, stating all conference championship football games are to be played at a pre-determined location.
"I'm not in favor of it. For one, I like more high school stadiums. Stadiums like Waco (ISD Stadium). High school-type stadiums that don't swamp your crowd. You can pack them and there's more excitement," said Copperas Cove head coach Jack Welch.
Gatesville coach Kyle Cooper said he understood why the decision was made, but felt it hurt the integrity of the game.
"I think it goes back to contracts and money, so I understand where they're are going with it, but my take is that's not what high school is about," he said. "It's still about a little bit of tradition, (and) a little bit of history."
Cowboys Stadium will host high school football championship games in the state's three largest classifications in 2010, the first year of designated sites for all 12 title games in Texas.
"We're excited about hosting great high school football games at some of the premiere venues in the state," UIL Director of Athletics Cliff Odenwald said in a press release. ".... We are so grateful to be able to create an incredible experience for our student-athletes."
The UIL said Tuesday the first title game at the new $1.2 billion stadium in Arlington will be the Class 3A Division I championship Dec. 10. A week later, Cowboys Stadium will host five games - the 3A Division II game and the championships in 4A and 5A. Two games will be Dec. 17, followed by a tripleheader Dec. 18.
"For me, I like it because if you get there, you don't have to worry about all the extra stuff like the planning that goes into it," said Belton coach Rodney Southern.
Newsom Stadium in Mansfield will host the 1A and 2A games Dec. 17-18. The six-man championship doubleheader will be at Shotwell Stadium in Abilene on Dec. 11.
"If you have pre-determined sites, it's not neutral," Welch said. "You have a team right there where that's their home and they're going to swamp you with their crowd. That's not right."
Welch's Bulldawgs played in the 2006 and 2007 Class 4A Division I title games. The 2006 game was played at the Alamodome against San Antonio Alamo Heights, which is 6.5 miles from the stadium (Cove is more than 140).
The next year, Cove met Houston-area Lamar Consolidated at Round Rock's Kelly Reeves Athletic Complex.
The 5A pre-determined sites began in 2006. In 2007, Euless Trinity traveled more than 280 miles to face Converse Judson (roughly 20 miles) in the 5A Division I final at the Alamodome. The next year, Allen and Wylie, two Dallas-area schools, played Houston-area schools in Fort Bend Hightower and Katy at Houston's Reliant Stadium.
In October 2009, the UIL Legislative Council unanimously passed a measure to have the 1A-4A football state championships at pre-determined sites beginning in the 2010-11 school year as is done for 5A.
"That would be a neat deal for them, and once you get to that point, you're going to play in a neat stadium," Cooper said. "... But I'll say this, if I can get there, I'll play anywhere I can."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.