Sale Creek plays first home game in program history, comes up short in loss

Staff photo by Robin Rudd / Sale Creek's Lucas Mathis, left, tackles a Jackson County player during Friday night's game.

Nine years ago, Sale Creek High School football coach Ron Cox and assistant Roy Shipley were standing in a hay field near the community's elementary school when Shipley turned to Cox and said: "Wouldn't this be the perfect spot for a football stadium?"

Then the two friends began to laugh in unison before concluding: "Yeah, not in our lifetimes. That's never going to happen."

On Friday night, on that exact piece of land, it happened. In the eighth season since Cox and Shipley started a football program at a century-old school that had never had one, Davidson Stadium became a concrete-and-aluminum reality, complete with a dedication ceremony 20 minutes prior to the Panthers' first real home game. They had previously hosted opponents in downtown Chattanooga.

"This is a dream come true for this community and myself," said Tobin Davidson, the venue's namesake.