POWHATAN – Coach Willie Miles issued a challenge to his players at the beginning of the year. Last year they tried to get him, but didn’t really succeed.

This time, however, they definitely made a splash.

A couple of Powhatan Middle School Soccer’s players – backed up by their teammates – grabbed the orange water cooler and rushed after their head coach, who saw them and, smiling, tried to run away.

Last year when they tried to splash him, they only got a little bit of his shoulder, he said. But this year's group had a little help from one of the high school soccer players who got a hold of Miles.

They succeeded in soaking their head coach with the celebratory ice bath following Powhatan’s 4-0 Southside Middle School Conference Championship victory over Park View on Thursday. The big win capped what was ultimately a fun season for Coach Miles, Coach Jessica Minnix and their players.

“I am extremely proud of this team,” Miles said. “They rose to the challenge each and every game this season. They brought their all each practice, even through tough times within us internally – yes, we were producing, but at the same time, they knew they could do better. And they showed up and they extended it, and I was very pleased and just it warms my heart to see that these guys are so coachable and this group is just excellent, so I’m blessed…it’s a great team win.”

Kenan Muminovic had the hat trick with three goals in Powhatan’s championship match. He put his team on the scoreboard with a shot down the middle inside the 18 yard box, finished off a play set up by teammate Brandon Vallant and then netted a corner kick launched by Brayden Elzey. Muminovic made both of Powhatan’s first-half goals and scored his third in the second half after teammate Connor Gravatt made it 3-0 on a rocketing kick that propelled the ball into the netting above the goalkeeper.

This season featured a repeat of last year’s fortunes as Powhatan Middle School Soccer again won the championship on an unbeaten record (16 wins, 0 losses and 2 ties). To Coach Miles, Powhatan’s continued dominance is a positive sign for its players.

“They are showing that they can take the next step,” he noted. “Whether they’re older, whether they’re younger, I’m seeing little bits and pieces where they have a bright future…some of them need to work on a couple things, others need to work on…technical work, fitness, whatever it is – they’re understanding that and they’re applying it to the field.”

To Coach Miles, his team very quickly turned into a family.

“Whether it’s through different players stepping up, being vocal – whether it’s leading the charge (“and holding each other accountable,” Minnix added)…they just did it each and every day,” Coach Miles said. “I couldn’t have done it without my right-hand (Coach Minnix)…she wasn’t afraid to say what she needed to say, I’m blessed to have her truly.”

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