LAGRANGE, GA (WTVM) - LaGrange quarterback LaPerion Perry has a lot to play for this year. It's his senior season, and last year his team fell just short of making the playoffs.
But there's one more factor motivating this young man, and it came at a devastating time in his life.
We spoke to him about the off-the-field adversity he's faced, and the maturity he's had moving forward.
Perry is no stranger to adversity, like last year when an ankle injury kept him out of the play-in games.
"It was really bad for me. I felt like I could help my teammates," Perry said. "It was hard on me."
Offseason hip surgery meant he would miss the first five games this year.
"I just motivate my team to go hard, play smart, play with an attitude and win the game," Perry said.
He was ready to come back until one more piece of adversity struck – his father, Nick, died in a car crash just two months ago.
"He was on his way to work and he usually calls me before he goes in so I didn't get a call so I didn't call him because I felt like he probably forgot or he overslept," Perry said. "I got a call that morning and somebody told me to call my dad so I called him. He didn't answer. A few minutes later I got a text that he was dead. It was hard. I didn't know what to say."
A tough moment for anyone, but with maturity and help from his teammates, Perry's working even harder in spite of losing his dad.
"Football-wise he's never missed a beat," said head coach Diallo Burks. "Matter of fact it motivated him more to make sure he's on point with what he's doing because he wants to just do it in remembrance of his dad."
"I felt like I wouldn't be the same anymore, but it just dedicated me to keep going because I know he doesn't want me to quit," Perry said.
His dad may not be on the sidelines, but in a way, he's even closer than before.
"I mean shoot he's with me now. Even though he isn't here physically he's with me," Perry said.
As a QB it's all about the next play and moving forward, and Perry's doing just that with memories of his dad carrying him on.
Before every game, Perry writes his dad's name on his cleats in remembrance of him.