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Football team gets approval to use armory

Visiting football teams will now have plenty of space to spread out during their trips to The Brickyard. The National Guard Armory, next door to the stadium, will now serve as the visiting team's locker room.

Officials with the National Guard approved the use of the space prior to the Jefferson County game. The Warriors used the armory during the game, parking band and football busses in the lot on the north end of the stadium.

Thomson Coach Luther Welsh said the move was a huge help to both the visiting team and the home team.

"It's a big blessing that they don't have to come behind our people and mix with our people and all that," he said. "It's a much larger place, so it's a nice place for the visiting team to dress."

Superintendent of McDuffie County Schools Mark Petersen said former Guardsman and current Bulldog supporter Larry Chalker spoke with armory commander Sgt. Johnny Hearst and got permission for the system to use the space during all of the home games.

Dr. Petersen said the change helps alleviate the problem temporarily.

"It just seemed to be a good way for us to separate the two groups instead of having that field house," Dr. Petersen said. "That field house is in terrible shape."

Coach Welsh agreed that separating the teams before the game was a good idea.

"They come in one of those gates down there. They park their busses down there. They don't even have to come into the stadium until they warm up," he said.

Dr. Petersen even opened up the possibility of the Bulldogs using the armory and allowing the visiting team to use the smaller field house. Coach Welsh didn't take too well to that idea, though.

"That would be a problem because they're going in behind our fans," he said. "We just don't want to change. We've been doing that for so many years. You know how I am; I'm superstitious. We're going to keep on doing what we've been doing, even though it may be better."

Web posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006

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