PIAA should return to Altoona
It’s been 21 years since the PIAA unceremoniously took its football championship games away from Altoona and moved them to Hersheypark Stadium.
From 1992-97, Altoona’s Mansion Park Stadium was the host for the PIAA championships. Altoona lost the games to Hershey for the 1998 season, and the games have been held there since.
During the time Altoona hosted the games, they were plagued with what seemed like yearly weather issues, including several snow events, which delayed the games. Weather and parking were big points that went against Altoona.
Recently I watched the championship games and was surprised at the lack of attendance. Granted, Hersheypark Stadium holds close to 15,000, but from what I witnessed it was nowhere near capacity.
The television commentators on the TV broadcast mentioned about long travel times to Hershey for Farrell and Erie Prep. An Erie area reporter
tweeted a picture of Beaver Stadium on his way to Hershey, saying “Future home of the PIAA finals? I can only wish.”
Mansion Park is centrally located in the middle of the state. It’s the premier facility in District 6 and one of the top facilities in the state.
Most of those who were part of the Altoona proposals for the championship games in the 1990s have retired or moved on to other ventures.
Would there would be enough support or leadership to bring the games back to Altoona?
The odds are probably against it before it starts. Going up against the PIAA and HERCO group, which runs Hersheypark Stadium, is a tall task.
In my opinion, the games should have never left Altoona in 1998.
I say it’s time to bring the championship games back to Altoona.
Simpson was fine representative
Zach Simpson of Hollidaysburg is a very honorable young man who went to Penn State without a scholarship and decided to make a contribution to the football team as a preferred walk-on.
He’s been a great representative of both Hollidaysburg Area High School and Penn State University.