Henderson brings winning reputation to established Powhatan program

Powhatan kicks off new season under new coach

POWHATAN, Va. (WWBT) - The Mike Henderson era has kicked off at Powhatan. Henderson became the program’s new head coach this past February and has the Indians’ preseason camp well underway.

Henderson comes to Powhatan from Douglas Freeman, a place where he says he was happy, but when the Indians’ head coaching job opened up, it was a chance he couldn’t pass up. The head coach was quick to point out that off all the high school jobs, this was the only one that could pull him away.

“It’s a special place to me,” Henderson said during practice on Monday morning. “It’s my community, it’s where I’ve made my home for the last 21 years, it’s where my kids go to school, so it’s a very special place.”

Henderson brings a winning pedigree to the Indians’ program. He spent 15 years as the head coach at Blessed Sacrament-Huguenot, also in Powhatan County, where he won five state titles in a nine year span. From there, Henderson turned Douglas Freeman into a consistent winner, after the Rebels suffered losing records in five of the six seasons prior to his arrival. During his seven years on Three Chopt Road, Freeman posted six winning seasons, five playoffs appearances, and two 10-win campaigns. Now he takes over a hungry group of players in his home county.

“The guys bought in right away,” Henderson recalled. “They were excited to come out to workouts, they were excited to learn a new program, so I’ve really been thrilled with the work ethic.”

“There’s a lot more excitement because of the new program,” noticed senior running back Nathaniel Moyer. “We’re all just really excited to get there and play.”

The new head Indian takes over for a local legend. Jim Woodson stepped down as the school’s head football coach after the 2018 campaign, after 34 years and 280 wins. He’s won more games than anybody in the Richmond area. Henderson doesn’t base expectations on who or what has come before, but he certainly appreciates the history of his new program.

“It’s got such community support and coach has helped build that through his 30-plus years here, so in a way that’s easy. Obviously expectations are very high. Powhatan’s won a lot of games for a lot of years, so that’s challenging, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.”

2019 also marks changes in the Indians’ scheduling landscape. The tribe is assuming an old Dominion District schedule and that means they’ll see more Richmond area opponents. Players and coaches are both eager for the change, after the school competed against a slate made up of mainly Charlottesville-area teams while in the Jefferson District.

Powhatan kicks off its 2019 schedule on September 6 at home against Matoaca.

Copyright 2019 WWBT. All rights reserved.