Photo gallery: Goodbye to Hutcheson Memorial Field
It has seen hundreds of games, thousands of players and countless memories in the last 60 years.
Its playing surface has been the home stage for three state championship teams, 31 All-State players and two future NFL players - Pete Brown and Bobby Scott.
Its press box has heard the voices of legendary broadcasters and its stands have seated thousands upon thousands of loyal, die-hard supporters.
And on Oct. 2, 2008, on the 60th anniversary of the first Homecoming Game at Rossville High School, Hutcheson Memorial Field finally saw its last football game.
With a new field set to open at the new Rossville Middle School across town next season, the venerable old stadium finally closed its gates on Thursday night, following Rossville Middle School's 12-6 overtime Homecoming loss to Gordon Lee.
But while the outcome of the stadium's final game failed to follow the script, Hutcheson Memorial Field will always be remembered for its winning tradition.
The history of Rossville football is one of the reasons I wanted this job," said Rossville Middle School head coach Steve Lewis. "The tradition has been ingrained here for a long time. It is and always has been a football town, and even though the people here no longer have Rossville High School, they will always be die-hard Blue and White."
Lewis, who prepped at neighboring Ringgold High School, said he could feel something special about the stadium the minute he stepped on the field as a player.
"There was definitely a mystique about it," he ex-plained. "It was smaller than most of the other stadiums we played in. The people were right on top of you and it just felt different than any other stadium."
"I have so many memories of this place," said former Rossville High and East Tennessee State quarterback Wink Baker. "There were a lot of championships won here, a lot of great coaches and a lot of good friendships made.
"But most of all it was the fan support that made it special. There was a tradition here that you felt like you had to follow. Winning meant a lot here."
Rossville fans saw plenty of wins.
According to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, the Bulldogs were 148-72-4 at home from 1948 to 1988.
Hutcheson Memorial Field, named for local businessman and philanthropist John L. Hutcheson, saw Rossville win back-to-back Class AA state champions in 1954 and 1955.
Then on Nov. 30, 1962, the stadium saw perhaps its most memorable game when the Bulldogs completed a perfect 13-0 season with a 28-6 win over North Clayton in the 1962 Class AA state title game.
Lynn Murdock experienced many of those wins from the sidelines. Murdock served as an assistant coach before taking over the head coaching reigns from Frank Fabris at the start of the 1964 season.
For 30 years this place was my life, said Murdock, who guided the Bulldogs through the 1984 season. The community support was huge. Every Friday night when we were at home, every store was closed and everyone was here at the game. We regularly got crowds of over 6,000 down here.
"I remember every game against Lakeview was big. They would be lined up at the gate at 6 p.m. waiting to get in. The old (Peerless Woolen) mill would let people park there for free and it would be completely filled up.
Although Rossville officially closed its doors as a high school in the spring of 1989, the building remained open as Rossville Middle School for almost 20 years and Hutcheson Memorial Field continued to play host to Bulldog football.
It was special to me because of the guys like Bobby Scott, Freddie Johnson, Rick Buff and all the other stars that played there, said former Bulldog and local sports media personality Stump Martin. I remember sitting in that cramped little locker room before the game and hearing the drum cadence of the band as they came into the stadium and hearing the clack of the metal cleats on the concrete floor as wed shuffle to the door.
Then it would open and youd see fans sitting or standing anywhere they could find room and wed run out of that tunnel of fans to this incredible roar. I get chill bumps now just thinking about it. They talk about how special it is to run through the T in Knoxville, but I dont see how it can be anymore special than coming onto the field at Rossville.
And while the final whistle may have blown, the memories will never die for the thousands of players, coaches and fans that made the stadium special for more than six decades.
All those guys that came before us created the legend, Martin added. It made no difference if you were a star player or not. There were a bunch of other guys that busted their tails every day at practice that never played in a game, but their reward was just being one of the few that got to dress with the varsity and getting to run on that field.
"We were special because we were Rossville Bulldogs.