Perry football building around seniors Oaks, Prioleau

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019 | 9:33 PM


For the Perry Traditional Academy football program, last season was one to build upon as the team boosted its win total from one in 2017 to three in 2018.

And while the improvement in the wins column serves to boost the confidence of the returning Commodores, there is still plenty of building left to do for third-year coach Rod Rutherford.

The high turnover rate on the roster has been a challenge to turn that final corner and return to a winning football program. In some ways, Rutherford said the lead-up to the new season can feel like starting all over again.

“Every year is a new year with the turnover. Until we can get a stable foundation, it feels like we’re starting over from ground zero,” Rutherford said. “With the constant turnover, we can’t really say (how things will go) until we get a solid group of kids coming back. But I feel like we’ll have a solid team. We don’t have great numbers, but we do have kids that are motivated and work hard at the game of football.”

Rutherford, the former Perry and Pitt standout quarterback, estimates there will be 25-27 players on the roster this season. He also said there are likely only going to be two returning starters on each side of the ball, two-way starters Brashawn Oaks and CJ Prioleau.

Prioleau, a senior, figures to be a factor on offense. In terms of what position he plays, that is still yet to be decided, according to Rutherford.

Meanwhile, Oaks will be a focal point for the Commodores. After playing wide receiver last season, he may find himself this season handling the football on a good deal of his team’s offensive touches.

“He’s definitely the heart and soul of the team right now,” Rutherford said. “He’s a vocal leader, and he leads by example. He’s the kind of kid you want to coach, you want to have a whole team of guys like him.”

“He’s a great kid to coach. He’s kind of the model for what you want out of a player. There’s opportunity for him to possibly play QB, but right now he’s just going to be put into whatever position that will make him most successful. He’s going to be a guy that we do a lot with.”

For the remainder of the preseason and early in their City League schedule, the Commodores will be attempting to find the right mix of players who can contribute to their mission to continue building up their football culture. In many ways, Rutherford said a big aspect of that will be the ongoing task of cultivating a winning mentality.

“It’s going to sound cliché, but physical, smart, energetic kids is what we want,” Rutherford said.

“You want to be smart, and that’s something we can work on. We need kids that are going to understand where we’re at as a team and understand our concepts. Other than that, the one thing we can control is effort. We need constant effort to get where we want to go.”

Schedule

Coach: Rod Rutherford

2018 record: 3-5, 2-3

All-time record: 457-345-48

Date, Opponent, Time

8.24, Northgate, 4

8.29, Brashear*, 7

9.7, at Youngstown East, Ohio, 2

9.13, at University Prep*, 3:30

9.20, at Oak Glen, W.Va., 7

9.27, Allderdice*, 7

10.4, Carrick, 3:30

10.11, at Westinghouse*, 7

*City League game

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