Hard work, dedication paying off for Sherando’s Perry

Sherando's Mike Perry runs through a drill during practice this week. Perry leads the team with six sacks. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — Sherando football coach Bill Hall said he’s not surprised at all by the success that Sherando senior linebacker Michael Perry is having this season.

Hall said that Perry is a product of hard work and dedication, especially in the weight room.

“I could have told you very easily he was going to be successful just by the way that he was approaching his year-round commitment, focusing on the process and just keep getting better,” Hall said. “And sometimes you’re not going to have immediate success, but as a senior he’s a result of four years of that investment.”

The Warriors (9-2) play at Frederick County rival Millbrook on Friday in the Region 4C playoffs.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Perry said he enjoys being in the weight room. Perry said he takes part in Sherando’s weight lifting program during the offseason and he lifts weights with Hall three times a week during the season.

Hall said his dedication in the weight room shows in the way he plays the game.

“You can tell by looking at him that he’s spent a lot of time in the weight room,” Hall said. “He’s spent a lot of time developing himself. No one gets to look like that or playing the way he plays without spending a lot of time in the weight room.”

Perry has 59 tackles this season for a stout Sherando defense.

Perry saw playing time at wide receiver as a sophomore, and last year saw meaningful playing time at linebacker as well. Perry also plays at tight end for the Warriors this season.

Perry said that he’s learned to love playing at linebacker.

“My mentality out there is just to make plays,” Perry said. “And just get in the backfield is the biggest thing for me. And when I make a hit, make it hurt.”

Perry leads the team in sacks this season with six and has 14 tackles for a loss. Perry, who had three sacks against James Wood earlier this season, said making a sack is a special feeling.

“Getting a sack is the best feeling ever,” Perry said. “I wish I would have gotten more this season. But when I got to the quarterback it was the best feeling ever. To see the facial expression on the quarterback is awesome.”

Perry said that he loves being a part of such a strong defensive unit, especially playing with fellow linebackers Payne Bauer, JoJo Doleman and Joe Kelliher.

Perry, one of Sherando’s team captains, also has one reception for 20 yards this season and has ran the ball 11 times for 22 yards on offense.

Perry said that he has received interest from several colleges to play football  next year, including William & Mary, Virginia Military Institute and the University of New Hampshire. Perry said he’s just trying to enjoy and relish his senior year.

“It does hit you pretty hard, Perry said of being a senior. “But you just got to keep playing, keep cherishing every moment — don’t take any moment for granted.”