Wednesday, September 2, 2015 - by B.B. Branton
The home side football stands and press box at East Ridge High School are closed permanently due to safety issues, but for the 66 teenagers who wear the orange, white and gray for the Pioneers on Friday nights it’s a small distraction and the season continues.
“Playing this Friday’s game against Signal Mountain at Baylor (7:30 p.m.) is a small distraction for us, but we know the game is played between the lines and we are focusing on this week’s game and nothing else,” said senior co-captain Jesse Jones who caught a fourth quarter touchdown pass from Matt Yarbrough last Friday in the Pioneers 21-14 comeback win against Brainerd.
What is Known: The home side stands and press box have been permanently closed on the recommendation of an inspector from March Adams and Associates engineering firm as of today (locker room and coaches offices will be closed next week) and the home side structure at Raymond James Football Stadium and Shanks Field (built in 1959) will be demolished as soon as bids can be secured and work can begin.
The Hamilton County Board of Education is responsible for the maintaining of Hamilton County School facilities and is also responsible for the building of the new home side stands and press box.
Home Games Will Be Played at East Ridge: According to Pioneer head football coach Tracy Malone, this week’s home game against Signal Mountain will be played at Baylor, but the games with Red Bank (Homecoming- Sept.
18) and Hixson (Hall of Fame Game – Sept. 25) will be played at East Ridge.
The Pioneers also have home games scheduled for Oct. 23 (Loudon) and Oct. 30 (Chattanooga Christian) which is Senior Night.
“I do not know when the county will have the home stands torn down, but my wish is that it happens after Senior Night in late October with the stands still in place (though not used),” stated coach Malone.
With the help of Stump Martin at Camp Jordan, Malone will have extra bleachers brought in and placed on the visitors side for the remaining home games.
Senior co-captain Pete Sexton said, “Our motto all season is to ‘Defend the Ridge’ and it’s about not giving up and working each day in practice and ready to play Friday nights wherever we play the games.
“The closing of the stands has been an issue the last couple of days, but as players we need to focus on just playing the game and doing our best.”
Friday’s Game: East Ridge (2-0, 0-0) vs. Signal Mountain (0-2, 0-0) at Baylor … 7:30 p.m.
First ever meeting between the two schools and it is a Region 3-AAA game
Looking Ahead: East Ridge travels to Chattanooga Central (Sept.11) then home for Red Bank (Sept. 18 – region game) and Hixson (Sept. 25) to close out the Sept. schedule.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com