Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Nicole Musgrave, Margaret McLeod Leef, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi Published

Cougars Football And EJ Henderson Guitars, Inside Appalachia

A wide photograph of a crowded football stadium lit brightly on a game night.
Communities adapt and come together with a winning football team during the first year after school consolidation in Alleghany County, Virginia.
Mason Adams/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Alleghany and Covington high schools were rivals for decades. But now, they’ve merged. This week, we head to a home football game and learn how it’s going. 

Also, the daughter of a legendary guitar maker didn’t set out to take up her father’s craft — but she’s found it irresistible.

And, we take a trip to the mushroom capital of the U.S.

You’ll hear these stories and more this week, Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

Cougar Football

Two teens dressed in their football team's colors and face paint, pose for a photo.
A consolidated school might be different, but student spirit remains the same.

Credit: Mason Adams/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

There’s nothing hotter than a high school sports rivalry. Host Mason Adams grew up in Alleghany County, Virginia and went to Alleghany High School. His school’s biggest football rival was the Covington Cougars, on the other side of the county.

The two schools consolidated this past year. Adams made a trip home to visit the new school during its very first homecoming to see what has changed and what hasn’t. 

A New Generation Of Henderson Guitars

A young woman with dark hair and wearing a black shirt sits in a chair with a guitar propped up on her leg. She appears to be strumming the cords.
Jayne Henderson builds her own future as a guitar and ukulele maker.

Credit: Janie Witte

Wayne Henderson has been making guitars since he was a teenager. The guitars he makes are prized by players who are willing to wait up to a decade to get their hands on one. 

His daughter, Elizabeth Jayne Henderson, never intended to follow in her father’s footsteps. She went to law school, but now Jayne is carrying on the family tradition in her own way.

Folkways Reporter Margaret McLeod Leef had this story.

Pennsylvania’s Mushroom Empire

A shiitake mushroom is shown growing on a branch.
Shiitake mushroom.

Credit: Keith Weller/United States Department of Agriculture

People have hunted wild mushrooms for generations — but did you know that Pennsylvania is the biggest producer of mushrooms in the U.S.?

WVIA’s Kat Bolus brought us this story about Pennsylvania’s mushroom farms and foraging clubs.

The Migration Of Frijoles Charros

Two bowls of fresh frijoles charros are shown on a table.
A bowl of frijoles charros sits to the right of a bowl of refried beans. While refried beans are a standard side dish in most Mexican restaurants in Southern Ohio, frijoles charros often accompany the main meal at restaurants in northern Mexico and along the US-Mexico border.

Credit: Nicole Musgrave/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A bowl of brothy pinto beans is comfort food for lots of folks here in Appalachia. There’s a similar tradition in rural Mexico — frijoles charros — or charro beans. Now, the dish has made its way north to the former coal town of Wellston, in southeast Ohio.

Folkways Reporter Nicole Musgrave has the story.  


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Joe Dobbs and the 1937 Flood, Mary Hott, The Sycomores, Anna and Elizabeth, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, John Blissard, and the Alleghany High School marching band.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens.

You can send us an email:

You can find us on Instagram, Threads and Twitter @InAppalachia. Or here on Facebook.

Sign-up for the Inside Appalachia Newsletter!

Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.