Heard something like that, heard that MP was turned down by a few Cali teams, and are looking for a game. Hamilton might be that team if they can't get an out of state opponent... Through the Grapevine
Sollenberger reps could have done a better job planning. Example #1: the games should be at NAU Walkup Skydome.
I don't see the point in having the games in Flagstaff at all, dome or not. I think it reduces the potential reach for such an event and is not a logistically sound choice for a trio of games involving five Phoenix teams. I get that their selling an idea of getting out of the Valley heat for a day, I just think they're shrinking their audience significantly by placing the event three hours away from the bulk of the participants.
Obviously the ideal situation is to have the game at UofP, and the Cardinals have made it clear in the past that they have no interest in being a good neighbor. Chase Field's an option if you want to keep with the same-day triple-header, but I doubt scheduling is going to be easy for that facility. That leaves you with Sun Devil Stadium hosting a single game between two high school squads, which was the original scenario for the Sollenberger when it started in 2006 (Hamilton and Red Mountain)-I don't think it's an overly inspiring setup.
I propose the following...
-Pick a neutral Valley site. McClintock or one of the Paradise Valley schools could work, or one of the Cactus League facilities would be great as well (and are an immensely underutilized resource locally).
-Stick with the three-game format, but instead of having a triple-header have the event spread over Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. To encourage repeat attendance you could A) charge the AIA's standard $8 entrance fee and waive it for anyone presenting a ticket stub from the previous night(s) event, or don't allow free "re-entry" but reduce the entrance fee to $3 per person.
-If you're not able to arrange three inter-state matchups don't involve any. Other than some name recognition from a couple years ago a California private school of 900 kids does little to move the meter for the casual high school fan in this state.
-Something for future consideration would be try to create inter-sectional matchups that could be presented as a series of travelling trophies-imagine Mountain Pointe and Chaparral (the best teams in the Tempe and Scottsdale districts, respectively) for the Scottsdale-to-Rural Cup, Hamilton/Chandler versus Desert Ridge (top Chandler squad versus top Gilbert squad) for the San Tan Trophy, or even incorporate the top Phoenix Union squad versus the top Tucson Unified squad to crown the Little Territorial Cup winner (what I like about this is you give two schools that normally have their accomplishments largely brushed aside a stage to themselves). This would certainly hinge on the scaling-back of zero week for the bulk of schools not involved and also a more pro-active organization of this event (i.e. before the entire state has schedules set).
I'm making a lot of this up as I go but to me the current setup (even with Hamilton-Mountain Pointe on the ledger) doesn't do a lot to stir interest outside of the core group of fans from each school that are going to go to their school's game and take off. At his best Barry Sollenberger was about promoting high school football in the state and the emphasis for his namesake event should be how to most effectively accomplish that.
"You've got to remember, that these are just simple farmers, these are people of the land, the common clay of the new west. You know . . . morons."