Community rallies around Marion Co football team - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Community rallies around Marion Co. football team

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JASPER, TN (WRCB) - The Marion County Warriors are taking on the Trousdale County Yellow Jackets tonight in the state quarterfinals. This is the first game since two assistant coaches were arrested, a third also was removed from the team and the head coach resigned.

It all stems from allegations surrounding vandalizing a field house on their own home turf. But, tonight their community is showing how sticking together can make a world of difference.

People from all over the county, even other schools, rallied around the team as they headed off to Trousdale County for the quarterfinals.

"The whole community coming together," MCHS student Chelsea Fowler said.

Hundreds of people lined the Jasper town square, applauding the Marion County High School football team as they left the controversy behind them and drove off to the game with interim coaches.

"All the drama we want the football players to know its not their fault and we're still standing right behind him," MCHS parent Jennifer Westmoreland said.

"I think it says like even though its been a hard time for our school with all the coaches having problems or whatever, that everybody still supports us and knows we're still a good school," MCHS student Taylor Roberts said.

They lost four coaches in one week's time. Assistant coaches Michael Schmitt and Joe Dan Gudger were arrested and charged with felony vandalism after police say they found evidence linking them to spray painting obscenities on their own field house. Volunteer Assistant Coach Tim Starkey was relieved of his duties. Head Coach Mac McCurry resigned.

"I know this has been a hard time for them, but I know they can pull it through," MCHS student Harlie Jordan said.

"This community is really behind our boys and it's just really great to see everybody out here, even the Whitwell cheerleaders came to support them," Molly Sisk, wife of one of the new assistant coaches, said.

"After such a hard time with our community and stuff it's worth it," MCHS student Carolina Hatfield said.

A sea of purple and encouraging signs covered Jasper to let the players know that they aren't to blame for all that's happened.

"Just shows the team that even with all that's been going on, that we still have a lot of positive energy here and we support them no matter what the outcome is tonight," Sarah Ziegler, the wife of MCHS principal, said.

"If I could do anything to help them out, I would," MCHS Alum Brandon Hookey said.

"I'm really proud of the community," Westmoreland said.

Marion County High School Principal Larry Ziegler says shortly after resigning Wednesday, former head coach Mac McMurry handed over his play book, in hopes it will help the team at tonight's game.

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