The Mount Pisgah Middle School football team will host Fellowship on Thursday at 5 p.m. for the Middle School league championship. The Patriots are 7-0 on the season and have outscored their opponents 290-46. Pisgah defeated Fellowship 30-14 earlier this season.
“I have been impressed with the performance of our Middle School football team this year. They are playing with intensity and focus and exhibit great teamwork,” said Head Varsity Coach Doug Dixon. “Their performance has created an excitement on the Varsity staff. We are looking forward to having the opportunity to coach such a special group of young men.”
While he would undoubtedly deflect much of the credit to his players, one reason for the squad’s success this year has been new Head Coach Caleb Perry. Perry, who played collegiately at the University of Arkansas, also serves as the Offensive Coordinator for the varsity team.
“Coach Perry has done a great job leading and developing our Middle School team. He and Coach [Jocko] Cendoya and Coach [Gene] Lydick have done a great job motivating and teaching the game,” said Dixon. “Coach Perry asked for the opportunity to be the Head Middle School Coach during the interview process and I thought it would be a great idea to have him at the Middle School putting in our offense and helping to develop that link between the MS and Varsity football programs.”
“I came from a pretty good program and part of our success came from our focus on the Junior High system,” Perry said. “I wanted to come in and create an expectation of winning with the young guys. I wanted them to know the importance of winning because it becomes an attitude and belief. It becomes an expectation for us and for the other teams.”
So far so good on that front, but Perry said he also wanted to talk about being champions. “Whether we win or not I want that language to be normal.”
When asked how his players have responded to his new way of thinking Perry responded, “I see moments of greatness and moments where they want to fall back into old habits of thinking. It’s a delicate balance to criticize a team that won 45-0, but it has to be done.”
Perry pushes his players to be great and not settle for anything less. When speaking about this he mentions Colossians 3:23 which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your hearts, as working for the Lord, not for human masters…”
“When you are playing a team who is not very good are you going to settle or create bad habits or negative energy?” Perry asks. “The guys have really responded to that.”
When asked what players have stood out for him this season Perry mentioned four names, but not the names you might expect.
First on his list is Trey Murphey. According to Perry, Murphey had tried to quit this summer, but the coach would not let him. “He embodied fearlessness in the weight room that I noticed right away. He went from not wanting to play to making big plays on defense every game.”
For a former offensive lineman it’s no surprise that Perry highlighted one of his lineman in Wes Booth. “Physically he is one of the most talented guys. This is his first year playing football and his improvement has been great.”
Perry also mentioned an unsung hero in Will Haygood. “He is possibly one of the most important guys on the team. He is on the scout team and goes all out every day. Great teams are made with guys like Will – guys that compete.”
Finally, he talks about running back Max Miller. “Max was an offensive guard at one point his summer and he never complained. Needless to say I did not know he would be one of our biggest difference makers offensively. That was very selfless of him to be fully willing to play guard.
Whether or not the team wins on Thursday is not as important as an event that happened early in the season as one of Perry’s players accepted Christ before practice. “I happened to give TJ a ride to the field and I asked him if he had ever heard of Jesus,” Perry said. “It was definitely a big highlight and I believe there will be more.”
All Mount Pisgah home games are played at the Patriot Athletic Campus, which is located at 9825 Brumbelow Road in Johns Creek.
See also: Feature Your Sports Team on Johns Creek Patch