New school, new field, new season: Hear from Highland Springs’ football coach, band director

Sports

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Although school in Henrico County starts on the second week in September, the first football game for Highland Springs High School kicks off on Saturday — and nobody on either team has ever stepped foot on the Springer’s new field.

‘Springer Nation’ students and faculty will be walking through the front doors of the brand new Highland Springs High School on Sept. 8. For those on the football team and marching band, the new school makeover meant the chance to have a brand new set of Friday night lights to play under.

Photo by Davon Yonkers

The previous Highland Springs High School was constructed in 1950 and was one of the oldest school buildings in the county.

HSHS football Head Coach Loren Johnson and Director of Bands Davon Yonkers are both excited for the new place to do what they love with the students they cherish.

Yonkers has been with the ‘Marching Battalion’ for 17 years and said he was taken back by the beauty of the new school for the community.

“To be able to see something like this in 17 years is amazing,” he said. “To be able to see things blossom and grow into something so deserving for a school of our magnitude, it’s amazing.”

He said the ‘Springer Nation’ is a community that rallies behind their kids and is more than just one club or sports team.

“With our old field, we kind of grew to the mantra of what is ‘Springer Nation.’ Just to know we have great football and athletics on the field, combined with our band program and our cheerleaders — that’s the three main components of what we call ‘Springer Nation,'” he said. “The biggest part of that is our fans and our student body. Our community, when that all comes together, nothing can break that bond.”

Yonkers said the relationship with the football team is of mutual respect.

“We are out here and play our music. We see the football team and the coaches vibing to what we are doing. What they’re doing affects how we respond in the stands. It is a mutual thing,” he said.

HSHS Head Coach Loren Johnson said it is important to remember where you came from but it is just as special to make new memories with the new school.

“For every team, you start off new,” he said. “The thing about this year’s team is that nobody has won a state championship before. You can’t live off past lore. You can’t live off what guys have done in the past. You got to make sure you focus on what this team can do. It is a great opportunity to make a new legacy and destiny with the new field.”

Coach Johnson looks back at the past years of Highland Springs with fondness.

“The band playing, the camaraderie of the two teams, the pageantry of the moments. There are a lot of playoff games in that last stadium that were very important,” he said. “All the championship seasons. Even my first game as a Springer was on the old field.”

He said the team is focused on Saturday’s matchup against North Carolina’s Julius L. Chambers High School.

“You have to push forward and start something new. Hopefully, this Saturday will be just as memorable,” he said. “We’re anticipating getting on this thing and having a great game. We have to wait until all the construction is finished so we can come out here and play the best football we can. We are prepared and ready for anything. I think we have the opportunity to do that when we get here in our own stadium, on our own field, play in front of our family and friends and have a good time.”

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