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Pioneers' "Family" of first downs

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EAST RIDGE, TN  (WRCB)  --- When you hear the term " family business ", the options range from organized crime to the " Mom and Pop " corner diner.
But for East Ridge High School Pioneers' football, there's only one "family" running the business of the sideline chain gang.
" And thats enough for a Pioneers first down," booms the public address announcer.
Meaning Doug Rosser and the East Ridge chain gang are on the move again.
For Doug, a longtime East Ridge teacher, coach and sideline chain gang boss for 47 years, he's worked every Pioneer home game except one since 1968. " Raymond James told me one time he said, 'why don't you get yourself a crew?', I said 'thats what I'm gonna do.'"
And Doug didn't look far.
" My son-in-law, my son, my nephew, they all went to East Ridge too, they graduated from East Ridge, every one of them," Doug says proudly.
" I'm married into it, about 28 years ago," laughs Rusty Howell, Doug's son-in-law about his Friday night side job.
" He keeps doing it and needs help, I'll be up here doing it with him," chimes Jason Rosser, Doug's nephew. " I went to school here, played football. My job is the clip man, keeping the clip where the ball is on the chain."
And of course Doug's son Greg Rosser, his understudy of a mere 32 years here in East Ridge.
" We're right there in the action." explains Greg as to why the task is so enticing. " Its like we're really on the field, but too old to be on the field, jokes Greg.
The Rossers say they've never had any real problems working the sideline, other than an exuberant opposing coach.
" If its a good game, their coaches get excited and everything and we understand that , they worked all week to get there for that game," says Doug matter of factly.
Doug, also known as "Mr. East Ridge" by many in Pioneer Country, says he has no intentions of relinquishing the down marker any time soon, but admits he may consider that future play "under review" if and when he hits the fifty year mark.
And if he hangs it up, he's not expecting the proverbial gold watch.
" Right now we get a bottle of water at halftime so let's see what i get if i ever retire," laughs Doug with his infectious type of humor.
" My goal is when he retires to take over and beat his record," snickers his son Greg.
The Rossers say the Pioneers 2015 season has been one of the best to witness from the sideline, but they'd much rather see their Pioneers brethren raise a state championship.

East Ridge hosts Notre Dame next Friday at Raymond James Stadium in the 3rd round of the TSSAA playoffs.

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