Perry chosen for East-West game

Published 12:12 pm Saturday, April 9, 2011

WINDSOR – It has been a senior year full of accolades.

Thomas Perry was chosen as a member of the All-Northeastern Coastal Conference football team, selected to the First Team All-Roanoke-Chowan Team and named the region’s Best Defensive Player.

He recently added another feather to his proverbial football cap when he was chosen to represent Bertie High School at the North Carolina Coaches Association East-West Football game.

“Thomas has been a true student-athlete and has represented Bertie High School in such a positive way,” BHS Head Football Coach Greg Watford said. “He is certainly deserving of every accolade that comes his way.”

Perry began playing high school in seventh grade at C.G. White Middle School and then moved to Bertie High where he spent a year at the junior varsity level before playing the last three on the varsity squad.

He said he was pleased to be chosen for the East-West game.

“It’s an honor and a privilege and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Perry said.

During his junior year, Perry was a defensive lineman, but Watford came in for the 2010 campaign and moved him to linebacker, where he made an immediate impact.

“My senior year was my best season,” he said. “I like playing hands down, but Coach felt like I would be better at linebacker, so he stood me up. I got to see a lot of action because of that.”

Perry said he also worked hard to become a leader.

“I think I set a pretty good example,” he said. “I tried to do things the right way so my teammates would do right. I always worked hard so they wouldn’t have anything to say if I got up on them.”

Watford agreed.

“Thomas was a great leader because he did it both ways – he knew how to lead by example and how to be vocal when it was called for,” Watford said. “He is one of the best I’ve coached in a lot of areas and that’s certainly one of them.”

Perry gave a lot of credit for his success to his coach.

“He means a lot,” Perry said. “He’s a good guy and has done so much for me. He pushed me and made sure that I got the education I needed on the field and in school.”

The standout performer also credited former Head Coach Tony Hoggard and then-JV skipper Randy Whitaker for his development.

“I learned a lot from each of my coaches,” he said. “They have different styles of coaching – in some cases very different, but they all helped me learn the game and improve and I am appreciative of their guidance.”

Perry said he was pleased to be a representative of Bertie High School at the East-West game.

“I’m proud to represent Bertie High,” he said. “It’s an honor. I never thought I’d be playing in an All-Star game, but now that I am, I am going to represent.”

Bertie High School Principal G. Fisher Mitchell said he was proud of the student-athlete Perry had become.

“Thomas was one of my first projects as principal,” Mitchell said. “He has come a long way and I’m very proud of him.”

Mitchell credited some of that turnaround to Alicia Heffner, an English teacher at Bertie High.

Perry was in one of her classes during his freshman year and took the work seriously and changed his direction.

“Thomas Perry is one of the most hard-working and dedicated students I’ve had,” Heffner said. “He really got into all of the readings and excelled on a high level. He loved my class and I loved having him be in the class.”

Heffner said she was also proud of Perry’s success, including earning a scholarship to Morgan State University.

“I’m so encouraged by his success,” she said. “Thomas has great potential that will be realized in the college atmosphere. He’s experienced success and will continue to experience it.”

For his part, Perry said he was looking forward to Morgan State for more than just playing football.

“When I graduate I’m going to hopefully find a job,” he said. “If I had the opportunity to go pro, I would take it. I’m not stopping where I am. I am going to get bigger, faster and stronger.

“I’m not going to college to play football and go to the pros,” he added. “I am going to earn a degree, but I will take the opportunity if it comes.”