Burke football games moved to W. Ashley field over 'unsafe' conditions

Burke football games moved to W. Ashley field over 'unsafe' conditions

WEST ASHLEY, SC (WCSC) - Home field advantage will take on a new meaning for the Burke High School football team come Friday night.

The team is scheduled to play out its remaining home games at Ravenel Stadium in West Ashley, instead of Stoney Field downtown on Fishburne Street.

Athletic Director Dave Spurlock, of the Charleston County School District, said the decision was made in a meeting last week, which included officials from Burke and the City of Charleston.

Spurlock called the move "a safety issue," and said Ravenel Stadium would be available to Burke as its home field the rest of the season, if necessary.

Officials say the biggest problem is the playing surface at Stoney Field, still covered with mud, and now divots, from heavy rain and flooding downtown.

Retired Coach Earl Brown, who led the Burke Bulldogs 30 years, said conditions at Stoney Field have been a constant struggle, and seemingly worsen with time.

"As it stands right now, everything is in disrepair."

On Wednesday, Brown is scheduled to join other community leaders, including State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, in a rally to "save Stoney Field."

Organizers hope to find a more permanent solution to issues plaguing Stoney Field, including stadium renovations, or if necessary, a complete overhaul.

On Monday, Gilliard met with Citadel officials to discuss temporarily moving the remaining Burke home schedule across the street from Stoney Field to Johnson Hagood Stadium.

An athletic spokesperson for the Citadel confirmed the meeting, and said the school is in talks with Burke High School officials to work out the logistics of such an agreement, but to date, a deal has not been reached.

In the meantime, crews were already at work in West Ashley, pressure washing the stands, also prepared to add a fresh coat of paint ahead of a Bulldog "home game" Friday night.

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