Tough cir­cum­stances drive Al­covy se­nior’s suc­cess

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - GABRIEL STOVALL gsto­vall@cov­

Chris Edgar fig­ured he might as well take a shot.

After all, what did he have to lose? It was the first game of Al­covy’s foot­ball sea­son, and though Edgar had been pac­ing the Al­covy side­lines since the school opened back in 2006, week one against Du­luth would be the first time he’d be do­ing it as the head coach.

Flanked wide was his 6-foot-2, 165 pound do-it-all se­nior Koby Perry. And since he had pegged Perry as one who could be a key cog in what he hoped would be an Al­covy foot­ball come­up­pance, he thought it wise to try and start the sea­son the way he hoped it would con­tinue.

“It was the first play of the sea­son,” Edgar said. “We de­cided that we’d run a post pat­tern with Koby. And I can’t re­mem­ber us ever tak­ing one deep shot down the mid­dle of the field in the 10 years we’ve been around. But I said, ‘We’re gonna take it,’ and it was touch­down. Very first play, and touch­down.”

Edgar chuck­led at the mem­ory and then be­gan to rat­tle off a short, but im- pres­sive list of Perry’s early sea­son ac­com­plish­ments.

He grabbed a pick-six against Mead­owcreek in the next game. He had a kick re­turn for a touch­down that got called back on a ques­tion­able penalty in that same con­test. And since then, he’s gone on to be­come an ir­re­place­able piece of Al­covy’s 2016 suc­cess.

Perry, him­self, will ad­mit that he’s un­der­sized, but his big play ca­pa­bil­i­ties have net­ted him two in­ter­cep­tions, three touch­downs, 45 to­tal tack­les with 25 solo stops and two blocked field goals, all while lead­ing the team in allpur­pose yardage.

But Edgar will tell you, Perry’s value can’t be mea­sured on the stat sheet.

“I’ll tell you, the heart and soul of our team right now is No. 4,” Edgar said of Perry. “He has just been a heart and soul kind of leader for this team. The past two years, he hasn’t been taught how to be a se­nior leader. He’s kind of had to fig­ure it out on his own. But his work ethic and ev­ery­thing he’s done for this team, it just makes him one of the main con­trib­u­tors on our team.”

Perry, in­deed, is proud of his jour­ney.

It’s even sweeter in his se­nior sea- son where, although Al­covy missed a chance at the post­sea­son after drop­ping a 30-8 de­ci­sion to Her­itage last week, the Tigers have showed ma­jor bounce back in Edgar’s first sea­son at the helm with a 4-5 over­all record, and a chance to fin­ish with a .500 sea­son — a ma­jor feat con­sid­er­ing Al­covy pro­duced a com­bined 1-19 record over the pre­vi­ous two sea­sons.

“Man, it’s been a lot bet­ter since Coach Ed has taken over,” Perry said. “He’s been push­ing us to work harder and get bet­ter, and we don’t wanna go back to where we’ve been.”

But Perry is cer­tainly glad he got the chance to come back to the place he started.

Perry started at Al­covy as a fresh­man, but due to fam­ily cir­cum­stances, Edgar said Perry had to go to New­ton. De­spite New­ton be­ing the county’s “big school,” and the one ev­ery­body seems to think about when some­one men­tions New­ton County sports, Perry said he wasn’t at home there. His home was at Al­covy. “Un­for­tu­nately I’ve never been able

to get too com­fort­able in any pro­gram I’ve played for be­cause with my mother’s ill­nesses, my fam­ily moved a lot,” he said. But it was more like fam­ily here (at Al­covy), and that’s what re­ally brought me back. The guys I started with, I wanted to be back on the field with them.”

The road back to join­ing his broth­ers wasn’t with­out is­sues, though. When he came back to Al­covy as a ju­nior last year, he was deemed a tran­sient stu­dent and was, there­fore, in­el­i­gi­ble to play var­sity. Though it wasn’t ideal, Perry re­fused to sulk and pout about it.

“He had to play JV for us last year, but ev­ery­where we asked him to play and ev­ery­thing we asked him to do, he did,” Edgar said. “I’d say from that point un­til now, he has worked his ab­so­lute tail off for us.”

Perry said there’s a rea­son for that.

“Man, I’ve been through a lot,” he said. “(Foot­ball), this is about all I got. Sports has al­ways been im­por­tant to me. Sort of like an out­let. It gives me a chance to be a teenager. Like I said, I been through a lot, but that’s why I work. I love to work, so the amount of time and ef­fort I put in my craft usu­ally be­comes ap­par­ent on the field. I wanna go to the NFL, but with me be­ing un­der­sized, I know I gotta work 10 times as hard as ev­ery­one else.”

Hard work won’t be for­eign to Perry, though. Nei­ther will fight­ing against odds stacked against him. Perry is the sec­ond of five chil­dren, all born to a sin­gle mother who Perry says is cur­rently deal­ing with ter­mi­nal ill­nesses. Watch­ing her progress through it has been his ul­ti­mate in­spi­ra­tion.

“She’s my rock,” he said. “I’ve wit­nessed my mother drain blood from a turnip to put my sib­lings and my­self in a po­si­tion to be suc­cess­ful in life, and I couldn’t imag­ine let­ting her down. Two of my three younger sib­lings are boys whom I ab­so­lutely adore, and vice versa. I’m kind of the man of the house, so it’s im­per­a­tive that I give them a pos­i­tive male fig­ure to look up to.

“Not hav­ing an in-house fa­ther makes my role in their lives that much more im­por­tant.”

Now, the main thing on his mind is beat­ing Green­brier Fri­day in his last game and set­ting a good ex­am­ple to those un­der­class­men who will try to con­tinue Al­covy’s foot­ball re­vival after he’s gone.

“This year things turned around, so it’s even bet­ter,” he said. “We had the mind­set com­ing into the last week of the sea­son where we wanted to make sure we had went hard and gave our best. I see great things hap­pen­ing in this pro­gram even after we se­niors are gone.”

That’s why Perry, with all the things he’s been through and had to over­come, feels he is qual­i­fied to give a lit­tle sage wis­dom to the fresh­man and sopho­mores he’ll leave be­hind.

“Just work hard. Do your best and lis­ten to your coaches, be­cause they re­ally love you,” Perry said. “You can re­ally feel that they love you, and that it’s re­ally just all love around here. And I’d tell them that if they just do those things, and not let ob­sta­cles stop them, they’ll be suc­cess­ful.”

<No data from link> | The Cov­ing­ton News

Al­covy Se­nior Koby Perry made the most of his re­turn back to his first high school.

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