XENIA — For the first time in at least 35 years college football is coming to Xenia’s Doug Adams Stadium, and there’s already a buzz about the game in Wilberforce and Xenia.
The Central State University Marauders voluntarily moved their home game with Benedict College to Xenia as a way of recognizing the city and showcasing the Marauders brand of college football on the Adams Stadium turf.
“This is something that CSU has considered for a long time. We played in the city of Xenia quite a few years ago. Our fans were extremely supportive and excited about a collegiate football game being played in Xenia. When we released the news about this week’s game, the response was overwhelmingly positive from the community,” said Central State Sports Information Director Nick Novy.
While records are incomplete, Novy believed the last time Central State held a college game in Xenia happened “somewhere between the 1980 and ‘83 seasons.”
Online estimates place Adams Stadium’s capacity at 4,782 while McPherson’s is estimated to be right at 4,000. The Adams Stadium facilities — particularly the locker rooms, press box and parking lot — are noticeably smaller, however.
CSU and Xenia High School have been working with the Central State students, game officiating crew, gameday staff and the Benedict College support staff to ensure that the transition to Adams Stadium will be a smooth one.
“Thanks to (Xenia High Athletic Director) Nathan Kopp and XHS, there aren’t too many logistical challenges. We have a little bit smaller press box to work with. It’s been of the utmost importance to promote the location of the game to our fans and the surrounding community. We want everyone to know that we are playing in Doug Adams Stadium this week,” Novy added.
Kopp said games like this were considered as soon as the artificial playing surface was added to the stadium two years ago.
“For Xenia, it was a no brainer to partner with Central State for this opportunity,” Kopp said. “When the turf was added a few years ago, it was done so with these types of opportunities in mind. We have been working with the Central State staff over the last several days working on logistics for Saturday. We hope this leads to future opportunities with Central State!”
Both Central State and Benedict are members of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Both NCAA schools currently lead their respective divisions.
Benedict hails from the SIAC’s East division. The Tigers are currently 2-1 overall, 1-0 in the SIAC East, tied with Albany State for the division lead. The Tigers defeated SIAC foe Fort Valley State in a home contest last week, 28-20, in Columbia, S.C.
With last week’s 24-6 road win over Kentucky State, Central State finds itself atop the SIAC West with a 2-2 overall record, 1-1 in conference play. Saturday’s 1 p.m. contest will be the Marauders’ first this season on artificial turf.
“I think it’ll be good for our kids to finally have some good traction.” CSU Head Football Coach Cedric Pearl said during his weekly radio show on the Gem City Sports Network. The Marauders have played their last two games, and won, in steady downpours. “Our game routine won’t change at all. They only thing that will change is us taking the team bus about 5 miles down the road and getting off. … Fans might be a little closer to the sideline (at Adams), but we like that.
“Our school administration wanted to pay tribute and give back to the Xenia community by holding this game there. Quite honestly, we’d like to fill the place. If you’re from Xenia, Dayton, Cincinnati, Cedarville, Yellow Springs, Jamestown … anywhere, and you want to enjoy a fun college football atmosphere, we invite you to come on over and fill the place up. It’ll be fun,” Pearl said.
Tickets for the game are $15 and can be purchased at the gate. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.