If you thought hosting a huge playoff game in another state was the only strange thing going on in Texas football stadium news this week, you're mistaken. Instead, an equally strange decision has been made about the site of one of the biggest games in the nation -- probably the biggest -- with No. 4 Euless Trinity (Texas) High facing off against No. 28 Coppell (Texas) High in a 12,600-seat stadium. Considering the fact that Trinity drew nearly 40,000 fans for an earlier playoff game at Cowboys Stadium, the capacity for its Coppell faceoff is a bit smaller than most expected.
How did two of the nation's best teams in the most football-mad state get cramped into a moderately sized high school stadium? Mostly for the same reasons that Longview and Mesquite Horn are going to play in Louisiana; the two teams couldn't agree on a site. Coppell put forward SMU's Gerald Ford Stadium, which seats nearly 40,000 fans when pushed to full capacity. Trinity balked at that suggestion, instead putting forward Southlake Carroll (Texas) High's Dragon Stadium, which is where the game will actually be played.
Just as it did between Longview and Mesquite Horn, the decision came down to a pseudo coin flip, which was won by Trinity. That relegated two of the nation's top teams to a stadium far too small to fit all the fans who want to see them play.
According to the Dallas Morning News, no tickets to the game are being sold on site, with both schools selling their 5,000-ticket allotment solely at their own school buildings and home stadiums. The remaining 2,000-plus seats are reserved for the school bands, pep squads and others with official passes. As of Tuesday evening, there were only some 2,000 tickets remaining, and it's highly likely that those have also been sold at this point.
Perhaps even more galling is the fact that ticket holders won't even be assured of a seat. The stadium's home stand seats 5,901, which should nearly fit Trinity's allotment of tickets. The visitor's stand and adjacent end zone, both of which will seat Coppell fans, seat 4,800. That's already some 200 fans below the allotment of tickets given to Coppell.
If you do the math -- as the Morning News' Corbett Smith did -- nearly 1,900 fans will have to watch the game while standing if everyone ticketed and allotted for (i.e., the bands and pep teams, etc.) show up.
Of course, that hardly seems likely to keep anyone away. With a game this big, there's no limit to which Texas fans won't go to get a good view. The only question is why the University Interscholastic League can't come up with a better system to ensure that more fans could get tickets to such huge games in the first place.