Note: This story appears in the Thursday, Sept. 19 newspaper on Page A1.
Editor’s Note: Each year, the Red Cross of Southeastern Ohio honors local residents and groups as part of the Hometown Heroes program. Our 2019 series continues today.
GLOUSTER — Football in Trimble Twp. is important — not just to the players, but to the whole area.
There are no if’s, and’s, or but’s about the matter: football has been a tradition in the area for decades. The team has reached the state championship game twice in recent years, and phrases like “Hold the Rope” and “Mohawk Mafia” are as synonymous with Friday night football as popcorn and red shirts.
The Tomcats have seen some change in recent years, with the decision made to tear down the beloved, historic football stadium in order to build a new one.
“It was very difficult,” said Sherry Downs Rossiter, treasurer of the Trimble Athletic Complex Improvement Committee. “A lot of people have memories in that stadium, even myself. We had no choice but to take it down, and it didn’t sit well with a lot of people, especially the older generation. But since we’ve installed the new bleachers, upgraded the lights and installed these things that we’ve needed for years, everyone seems very pleased.”
Trimble Athletic Complex Committee has worked hard to fundraise for the project, and for its efforts the members are being honored with a Group Hero award from the Red Cross. Rossiter credited committee members and the community at large for donating their personal time, funds and resources to ensure Trimble students have a safe, welcoming place to play football.
“It’s truly been a community effort,” she said. “Certain individuals have spent countless hours up there of their own time, moving dirt, getting things ready to set the bleachers — the year we weren’t able to use the existing structure, we wanted to have home games, but didn’t have bleachers. We called around, and volunteers picked up bleachers with their own trucks and trailers, and took them back at the end of the season. There truly has been an outpouring of support from many individuals and businesses.”
The list of what’s been done (or is ongoing) so far for the stadium is extensive: installation of new fencing, new bleachers and new light poles that do not interfere with the field view; moving the scoreboard to help with visibility; adding a wall of bricks that can be purchased and engraved; re-seeding the field and watering it daily; installation of a new electrical system; laying new concrete for in front of the stands and the concession area — the list goes on.
Some of the more salient changes are the addition of bleachers for the visitors side of the stadium and a new entrance archway for use as a team entrance.
“Trimble Twp. is very much a football community, that’s always probably been our biggest sport,” she said. “I guess football is ingrained in our community culture. Every game, there’s a section next to the concession stand where the elementary kids play football so we always have a youth league game going during the varsity games.”
Ellen Jones nominated the group for its efforts, praising members’ work on replacing the 1939 stadium with a safer facility.
“As a result of the leadership of the Committee, the students of Trimble Local Schools, one of the poorer school districts in the state, can now continue their proud athletic tradition in the community park that is the heart of the school district and its local villages,” she wrote in her nomination letter.
The Group Hero Award is sponsored this year by Rocky Boots. This committee and eight other Hometown Heroes will be honored at a banquet on Thursday, Oct. 3 at Christ Community Wesleyan Church, Albany. Tickets are available through Sept. 30 at the Athens chapter office (100 S. May Ave.).