Thursday, September 07, 2000

Paul Brown Stadium may host Elder-Highlands

Bengals, schools working out details for Sept. 16 game

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Remember the flap when the Bengals worried about Pee Wee football games in Paul Brown Stadium? The Bengals do.

        Intent on proving that their new home belongs to the taxpayers, they are working to accommodate a high school game there next week between Highlands and Elder. This follows their concession last year for Pee Wee playoff games to be played this fall in the stadium, despite concerns about damage to the field.

        “There's nobody in this community who would like to see a youth football event happen more than the Cincinnati Bengals,” said Troy Blackburn, Bengals director of stadium development.

        The game, pitting the top-ranked teams in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, would be played at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 16. The game was originally scheduled for Sept. 15 at Highlands, but its stadium holds less than 5,000 people and is beset by construction of a new middle school next door.

        “(Bengals president) Mike Brown said to me, "I love high school football. I want to be able to make this work,'” Highlands coach/athletic director Dale Mueller said.

        Though Highlands sent out press releases Wednesday announcing the switch, the Bengals say it's not a done deal.

        Only the stadium's lower bowl — approximately 29,000 seats — would be used. The normal 30-day advance permit would have to be waived by the city and Hamilton County. A waiver allowing festival seating would also be necessary, as would insurance in case of damage to the field.

        Highlands (3-0) is among the top 15 in seven different national ratings. Elder (0-1) handed the Bluebirds their only loss last year.

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