Bulldogs’ new scoreboard ready for August kickoff
By Logan Watson
Each fall, all eyes are on the Bulldogs. Football fans in Milan and across West Tennessee watch as the Purple Pack lights up the scoreboard at Johnnie Hale Stadium, and this season, the Dawgs will do so in style.
Milan has been buzzing since it was announced that the Bulldogs would be receiving a new scoreboard earlier this year, and a crew from Fisher Construction finally lifted the massive display into place last Thursday. Easily twice the size of the previous scoreboard, the towering new setup can be seen clearly from South First Street and blots out the sun as far east as Chow Wagon.
“This is the first of many things to come,” said Milan High School Principal and Athletic Director Greg Scott. “I know our community is ready for that.”
Secured by three I-beams and 15 feet of concrete, the scoreboard consists of four separate pieces: the sponsor board, which currently features the six companies that helped cover the cost of its purchase, the scoreboard itself, huge Bulldogs logos and a truss across the top.
The structure will also be able to support the addition of a video board in the future, similar to the scoreboards at Dyersburg and Jackson Christian School.
According to Principal Scott, the $45,000 renovation has been completely paid for through sponsorships and serves as the first step in the eventual overhaul of Johnnie Hale Stadium. The previous scoreboard, which was plagued with problems, had drawn the ire of Bulldogs fans, players, coaches and officials for close to 15 years, but the new display will be much more reliable.
“The way I understand it, the old scoreboard was struck by lightning shortly after it was installed,” said Principal Scott. “It also had a problem with moisture getting inside. There were days where we turned it on first thing Friday morning hoping that it would dry out in time for the game that night. This scoreboard is completely waterproof, as they all should be.”
In addition to the scoreboard, two new play clocks were also installed and the Bulldogs’ field house at MHS received a facelift in the form of a dynamic door wrap courtesy of Copies Unlimited. All of the updates were planned and installed with the intent of accommodating future stadium renovations. Principal Scott also stated that the wrought iron sign donated by the MHS Class of 1964, welcoming fans to Johnnie Hale Stadium, might be moved to a new location sometime in the future, but is “something we want to keep”.
While the scoreboard was successfully installed, there is still work to be done. In the coming weeks, MSSD Maintenance Director J.P. Miller will be working to install a dedicated electricity source and finish the wiring in time for the 2017 season opener..
“We couldn’t have done this without the sponsors and the support of Director Criswell,” said Principal Scott. “We’re going to continue to spruce up the stadium and make it the facility that it needs to be.”
The Bulldogs will kick off their season at home on August 18 against the Humboldt Vikings.
Milan Bulldogs 2017 Schedule
Aug. 18 – Humboldt
Aug. 25 – Peabody
Sept. 1 – Westview
Sept. – 8 Northside
Sept. – 15 Covington
Sept. – 22 Huntingdon
Sept. – 29 Bolivar
Oct. 6 – OPEN
Oct. 13 – McNairy Central
Oct. 20 – Lexington
Oct. 27 – South Gibson County