ORIGINAL STORY: Friday's game was supposed to be the home opener for the football team, but the city of East Ridge says the stadium is not safe enough to have fans cheering from the bleachers.
Friday's game against Signal Mountain will be played at Baylor's football stadium.
"This game this week is going to be a large crowd and I didn't think they could all fit on one side of the stadium," said Hamilton County Asst. Superintendent Lee McDade, "So we encouraged the coach to find another facility to use."
Holes eroding in the concrete foundation and rusting steel beams are keeping fans from cheering on the East Ridge Pioneers from their home field.
McDade says it's still too early to tell what needs to be done to fix it and at what cost.
He's hired a structural engineer to come out and inspect the stadium within the next few days.
"If it's something that we can patch and get through the season with and fix at the end of the year we'll do that," McDade said, "But if it's something that can't be fixed we'll have to decide what we're going to do moving forward."
Head Coach Tracy Malone says the news has been hard to hear for many of his players especially the seniors.
"Yea I mean it's tough on them, but they're resilient, they're resilient kids, and we're not going to let them use this as an excuse," Coach Malone said.
Malone says there's a chance some games that typically draw a smaller turnout could be played at East Ridge using only the visitors side.
He will adjust the schedule week by week, hoping these crumbling bleachers are the toughest challenge for the team this season.
"Ideally just want to be able to play at Raymond James Stadium, that its, new, old, there's a lot of tradition and history there," Coach Malone said.
Wednesday, August 16 2017 11:10 AM EDT2017-08-16 15:10:08 GMT
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