APPOMATTOX, Va. – On Tuesday afternoon, thirty minutes before practice was set to begin, head coach Doug Smith was painting lines on the practice field. It’s small acts like these that show why he is one of the most loved people in Appomattox.
But Smith is just happy to return to the field after being sidelined by cancer.
“It’s been like I thought, it’s overwhelming still,” he said. “I’ve got days when I carry bags and kids say, ‘let me carry the bags’, and I say no, I’m good, because I want to do it.”
Loaded with talent, and motivated by the absence of their coach, the Raiders went on to win the Class 2 State Championship last spring, and are prepared to make the same run with Smith.
“I’m definitely excited having Coach Smith back is a big motivator, letting him see us do it this year, I think that’s a big thing this year,” senior Toby Bryant said.
“We’re all just one team, Coach Smith is going to get us back,” senior Ervis Davin added.
And this fall, togetherness has a new meaning for Smith.
“I’m just talking to the kids and all the sudden I start getting choked up,” he said. “It’s the overwhelming feeling that we’re actually back out here and we’re doing this. I just can’t believe this, it’s unbelievable, cause I didn’t know what was going to happen last year.”
“There’s power in one community, there’s power in one lord for sure, but there’s power in one community and power over all of us coming together for each other.”