November 21, 2000
Add this to your list of things to be thankful for: The resurgence of Perry high school football this year. Yes, the Maroons did not win their second-round playoff game with Eufaula last Saturday night at Daniels Field, but we are left with at least two things to remember - (1) They could have won if certain things had not happened, and (2) the future is promising because of the returning underclassmen who have been among the stalwarts on this year's fine team. As is always the case, the departing seniors will be missed and it will be time to re-load in several key positions, but have you looked at the list of youngsters coming along for next season? They have size, skills and familiarity with the style of play installed by Coach Mark Baetz and his assistant coaches. Makes you anxious for next season to get here.
The game Saturday night was one of the most exciting ever played on our historic Daniels Field turf. Those with long memories will think of the 1964 first round playoffs when and excellent Perry Maroon team lost to Lindsay despite a furious finish when two PHS touchdowns were scored with little time left on the play clock. Now it's time to forget about what might have been and prepare for what appears to be a bright future.
Just a few observations left over from the game with Eufaula. The parking lot at our stadium was jam packed to capacity Saturday night and that posed a challenge for members of the Perry Lions Club. They have rendered such an excellent service this year in guiding motorists to orderly parking spaces, with exit lanes provided to expedite departures when the games are over. Charter buses carrying Eufaula visitors appeared to have a difficult chore in picking up their passengers, but they seemed to weave their way through that heavy traffic in good shape.
The biggest sour note came after the game while most spectators were still in the stands. Players from both teams were on the field, exchanging sportsmanlike hands and other signs of cordiality, when a few of the visiting players ran over to the Perry side and began pulling down some of the PHS banners lining the stadium walls. This naturally upset Maroon players, cheerleaders and others, and the track on the west side began filling with adults alongside the students. Coaches from both schools moved quickly to put out the fire. It was difficult to tell which of the civilians were trying to prevent a major melee because some of them seemed to be joining the fray. Tempers were pretty, warm on both sides. Thank goodness it ended with no serious problems, but some of the Eufaula crowd was soundly booed by those in the stadium area and the possibility of violence was very evident. Most of the Ironhead players appeared to be having a prayer huddle on the field in the midst of all this. Understandably, the visitors received Perry police protections as they arrived at a local restaurant for a bite to eat. Nothing more untoward happened and for that we can all be grateful.
Congratulations to Coach Baetz, his assistants and the Perry Maroon squad for their excellent performance this year, and to Perry fans and players, for avoiding a serious confrontation last Saturday night. We look forward to another thrilling season next fall.