Blog: Although Palmer Ridge football won't get the NFL experience, Falcon Stadium is still a sweet deal

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Photo - A small crowd watches the Air Force/Fresno State game during the fourth quarter Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, at Falcon Stadium on the Air Force Academy.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
A small crowd watches the Air Force/Fresno State game during the fourth quarter Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, at Falcon Stadium on the Air Force Academy. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

It’s been a ‘one game at a time’ mentality for the last 13 weeks.

And that one game they’ve all been working toward kicks off this Saturday.

With two area teams in their respective state finals this weekend, there’s a good chance the Pikes Peak region will welcome the season’s sixth (and possibly seventh) team state championship trophies home.

But only one area team will get the full NFL experience.

While playing in a state championship game is an immense accomplishment in itself, CHSAA rewards 4A and 5A teams by holding the state finals at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. And CHSAA has made the experience even more memorable for the state’s larger schools with a 5A/4A football press conference, scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at Mile High, according to the official CHSAA calendar.

I am probably not the only one who doesn't understand the logistics behind CHSAA’s decision to only host two title games at Mile High, and designate the others to home sites - but they certainly made up for it with the host site for the 3A championship.

Although Palmer Ridge will not get the total NFL experience, the Bears will get to play on a pretty big stage on Saturday.

CHSAA announced Monday afternoon that Falcon Stadium will play host to No. 2 Palmer Ridge vs. No. 5 Erie in the state championship.

The Bears will host Erie on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Air Force Falcon Stadium, making their first ever state title game appearance pretty memorable.

According to a release published by CHSAA, the 3A host site must hold at least 5,000 people, which is nearly double the capacity of Don Breese Stadium.

With the own home stadium out of the question for the state championship, Palmer Ridge athletic director Lance McCorkle went to work.

According to the CHSAA article, the Palmer Ridge football booster club raised the funds to rent Falcon Stadium, which holds 46,692 fans.

"The process all started about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, and we knew we had a group of parents that said they could raise enough money to host and they made it work," McCorkle said. "It's a pretty hefty amount of money that we couldn't have taken care of, but the group of parents came together and worked it out all day Sunday."

Parking will be free, but fans will need to enter the base through the North Gate and will be required to show proper ID, and have up-to-date registration and license plates.

Fans will not be permitted on base before 11 a.m.

McCorkle, who spent most of Monday ironing out logistics with the Academy, said he hopes the players are excited about playing at Falcon Stadium, but will remain focused on the task at hand.

"It's still a 100-yard field and there are still 22 people out there, and I hope they compete in all aspects of the game," McCorkle said. "But it's a good experience, and when I talked to the Erie athletic director, he was excited about the opportunity as well. I think it's going to be a cool event for them and a nice memory."

Read more from CHSAA about the 3A title game here.

In our other area state championship matchup, Pine Creek will face off against Pueblo South on Saturday.