Official: Fall athletics return to Charles City High School
Fall 2018 saw difficulties faced by Charles City High School’s athletics’ programs. With a lack of student interest, football and volleyball were cancelled for the year as questions arose about if both programs would return in 2019. The answer came Saturday morning.
Charles City High School athletic director Andre’ Jones announced that the school will be fielding both football and volleyball teams for the 2019-2020 school year.
“After a thorough evaluation over the last two weeks of both sports, I am thrilled to announce the return of fall athletics to the school,” said Jones. “The turnout by our student-athletes on a consistent basis has restored confidence into these programs and I am proud to say that Charles City High School will be competing against other schools this season.”
Charles City’s volleyball team maxed out their roster this year, with 12 girls on the floor and being led by new coach Vickie Williams. But on the gridiron where most of the attention was garnered last year after the Panthers cancelled the season, a Charles City alum has been handed the helms.
Sherod Jones is the new head football coach at Charles City High School. He is looking to be the leader of a revolution to restore a program where it needs to be. For Jones, he remembers the highs of the program such as a 2016 upset win by the Panthers over Franklin in the playoffs. Now, his focus is to provide a bright future for the players and community.
Jones is no stranger in football. A 1998 graduate of Charles City High School, he was the Tri-Rivers District Player of the Year in 1997. His coaching experience includes a stint as an assistant at John Marshall High School. But with his heart set on his hometown, Jones is up to the challenge to help the Panthers rise from the ashes like the Phoenix.
“The kids are willing, they are showing up every day, and they are giving me everything they have,” he said in a Friday afternoon interview. “They seem excited to do things that they have never been taught.”
The shift in focus for the coach also means doing things different than in the past. He commented about how great programs around the state make football a priority year-round, and that here at Charles City it can’t be a seasonal thing.
“Just to teach these guys football and life skills is bigger than the game itself,” Jones continued. “I know how rejuvenated the county will be once they hear football is back.”
After his hiring, Jones went to local stores and businesses to distribute flyers. The outreach garnered a response of 24 players, restoring faith in the program.
But Jones admitted that he wants his kids to be the center point of the positives of Charles City and help change the perception of the program.
“I want to bring everyone together, even if you had a negative view of Charles City before in the past,” the coach said. “That’s about to change. It’s a new day and myself along with my staff are willing to do whatever it takes to get these kids to the next level and make them successful in life.”
Athletic Director Andre’ Jones said the hires of Williams and Sherod Jones were instrumental to the rebuild of the programs.
“Coach Williams energy rubs off on the girls immediately and they are willing to work,” the athletic director said. “With Coach [Sherod] Jones, we wanted someone who knew the nuances of the game and could be a person to bring our community together. I believe we nailed these hires.”
Charles City’s volleyball team kicks off their season with a home contest against Northumberland on Aug. 28. Charles City’s football team will travel to Colonial Beach on Aug. 30 before hosting Roanoke Catholic on Sept. 6 in its home opener.
“We need the community to come out and support these kids,” the athletic director said as he wrapped up his comments. “If you truly want to support the athletics programs, your presence in the stadium and gymnasium does make a difference how they play.”