The University of Kentucky and the city of Lexington will play host to the Kentucky state football finals in 2017 and 2018 at Kroger Field, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association and UK Athletics announced on Wednesday.
“We are thrilled to be hosting the best weekend of Kentucky high school football at Kroger Field,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “We are committed to the growth of the game of football in the Commonwealth and excited to bring thousands of young athletes and fans to our campus and the city of Lexington through this event. Kroger Field will make an excellent home for the Kentucky state football finals.”
The KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl will be held at UK the first weekend in December, the traditional weekend for the annual event. The state championship games for all classifications (A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A) will take place at Kroger Field, with a schedule for the six games to be announced later.
“We are excited about the opportunity to move our football championships to Kroger Field and expand our outstanding partnership with the University of Kentucky,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett said. “We are eternally grateful for the efforts of other hosts in past years, but look forward to the chance to potentially grow this event and be able to maintain our pre-determined schedule that we finalize in the coming weeks.”
Lexington was the original home to the KHSAA state football finals, with games being played at Stoll Field from 1959-1966 and 1968-1972. For the last eight years, games have been played at Houchens-LT Smith Stadium in Bowling Green.
Kroger Field, renamed from Commonwealth Stadium last week as part of a comprehensive partnership with Kroger, originally opened in 1973 and reopened following a major renovation in 2015. The stadium hosted the KHSAA state football finals for the first and only time in 1976. Kroger Field, with a capacity of 61,000, has a state-of-the-art synthetic surface called UK-Speed Series-S5-M, the same surface used at the 2013 and 2014 Super Bowls.
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