POWHATAN – Memories of Powhatan Friday Night Lights from days past found new life at the Bienvenue Event Venue early Sunday evening through the lively, upbeat exchanges between the men who once led the Indians football team both on the field and from the sidelines. The occasion was an alumni barbecue put on by the Powhatan Football program for the former coaches and players who reunited and reminisced that Sunday.
State title-winning coach Mike Henderson – who took the helm of the Powhatan Indians this winter, succeeds two longtime legendary head coaches in Bob Baltimore and the area’s winningest coach Jim Woodson, and has lived in Powhatan for soon-to-be 21 years – wanted to have the past players and coaches reconnect with each other and meet the current coaching staff and their families. It meant a lot to Henderson to see former coaches like Bob Baltimore, Ernie Henderson, Jason Campbell and Jamie Layman – as well as star players like Shawn Minor and Shawn Henderson – in attendance. Players from the first-ever Powhatan Football team and the first Powhatan Football team that was integrated came through as well.
“It just really means a lot to be embraced by this community,” Coach Henderson told the alumni on Sunday. “We’re going to do our best that we can to keep up this strong program that we have and such a proud tradition here in Powhatan. We’re going to do everything we can to keep that going.”
Coach Henderson welcomed the alumni to stop by at practice, come by and say hello to the staff and come see some of the things that the program has been doing. He highlighted the expansion of the weight room to one and two-thirds-times its previous size, the renovated offices for the coaches across the seasons and the brand new home and away player uniforms.
“One of the big things that I really want to build this program on is: it’s one school and it’s one community,” Henderson added. “I really want to hammer that home; we tell our guys all the time: you live and play in the greatest county in Virginia, and I believe that. I want our guys to believe that. I think these guys who are here, they believe that.”
Henderson told the alumni that he and his coaches are going to give them their best in order to give them a program they can be proud of. He also asked them to come out and support the players, who will be taking on a challenging Dominion District schedule featuring perennial powerhouses L.C. Bird, Monacan and the defending Class 6 state champion in Manchester.
“The schedule is going to ramp up a lot,” Henderson said while adding: “We’re ready for the challenge. We might have to grow to it a little bit, but it’s gonna be fun. You’re going to see some of the best football teams in the area coming through Powhatan in the next couple years.”