SAN BERNARDINO — When a friend set up Josh Henderson on a blind date in college, there was little indication it would be the best thing that ever happened to him. It was. Henderson, now the Aquinas High School football coach, met his wife, Amy, while attending Azusa Pacific University. The couple has three children Josh (4), Abby (3) and William (1) and they live in Mentone. Henderson was the coach and driving force behind this season’s Aquinas team. The program, under Henderson, won its second CIF-Southern Section title in six years, defeating Ontario Christian 14-7 in the title game at Aquinas. In light of the Hendersons’ investment in Aquinas football, it was fitting that Josh and Amy spent a poignant moment after the school’s victory against Ontario Christian. The couple embraced for a long time at midfield, before Henderson met with a knot of reporters to discuss the school’s historic second section title victory. Amy acknowledged that holding down a job (she sells real estate), rearing three young children and being the wife of a prep football coach is challenging. “It’s tough,” she said. “But Josh makes a point to spend some good quality time with the kids every day. As for me, I knew what I was getting into when I got married. I just do it, and somehow it works.” Aquinas is glad, because it has a gem of a coach in Henderson, the Fontana High School graduate who won two league titles at Amabassador Christian before landing at the small Catholic school. Henderson worked wonders at tiny Ambassador, including handing then-formidable Arrowhead Christian a stunning 7-6 upset loss in 1998. The 1993 Fohi graduate had some great players and teams at Ambassador, but by 1999 he was on the move to Aquinas, at the suggestion of his former Fontana coach, Dick Bruich. “Aquinas was letting coach Mark Burns go, but I asked Mark about the school, and he had positive things to say about it even though he wasn’t happy with the situation,” Henderson said. “I was hired as coach halfway through the 1999-2000 school year.” Henderson was still green as a coach but hard-driving and dedicated. His fervor rubbed off on the impressionable Falcons. Aquinas also oozed with talent that season, led by the likes of 2000 CIF D13 Player of the Year Glenn Ohaeri, along with running back/defensive back Obie Amajoyi and linebacker/tight end Jeff Langdon. That team hit a speed bump two-thirds of the way through the season when the school reported itself for using a 14-year-old player in a varsity game without the proper paperwork. At first CIF determined Aquinas would forfeit six games. But then the section reversed field, only making the Falcons forfeit a 48-0 victory against Ontario Christian. The Falcons made the playoffs, and the rest was history, the school’s first section title. Henderson knows he was not Bill Walsh at that point in his career. “I didn’t know that much football, but I worked hard and was dedicated,” he said. “I pushed the kids pretty hard, and they did everything I asked.” Henderson has become a more complete coach since then. He also had plenty of help this season from high school teammate Jeff McCarthy, along with ex-Fohi star Nick Matheny, Mike Nelson and Jordan Brusig. The dedicated group of assistant coaches all own pieces of Henderson’s Coach of the Year award. “They’re a big part of our success and are all fully committed,” Henderson said. Henderson will be back at Aquinas in 2006-2007, but it’s hard to say what will happen after that. He’ll be a credentialed teacher in the not-too-distant future with an impressive coaching resume that includes three league titles in eight years and two section titles. “I’m not planning on leaving right now,” Henderson said. “I’m excited about the near future of Aquinas football. The program has never had this much momentum with so many boosters and parents being so supportive and willing to pitch in.” Henderson’s greatest supporter, though, continues to be wife Amy. Together they have made for a winning combination that has pushed Aquinas to the top once again. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa Anita Amy is the integral woman behind the man, taking care the family at home and putting up with her husband’s odd work hours and his pursuit of his college degree. “It’s harder on my wife than it is on me,” Henderson said. “I’m not teaching this year, so I’m at home more to wrestle with the kids and things like that. But she’s all alone a lot and often has to bear the brunt of managing the household. “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me. She has a lot of patience and is sort of an old-fashioned woman, different from the girls I used to date in Fontana. When I met her, I knew that I couldn’t let her go.” The Josh & Amy love story is just one of the sub-plots in Aquinas’ amazing 2005 season. The Falcons went 13-1, with their only loss to Big Bear. They were ranked No. 1 in the state among small schools by calhisports.com and were chosen as the state team of the year by the same Web site. Because of Aquinas’ accomplishments, Henderson is The Sun Coach of the Year.