Tough circumstances drive Alcovy senior’s success
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.”
Alcovy Senior Koby Perry made the most of his return back to his first high school.