2021 GHS graduate Greg Perry has committed to play both lacrosse and football at Western New England University in Massachusetts.
Following in the footsteps of other dual-sport athletes like Deion Sanders and Bo Jackson, Perry still has a passion for multiple sports.
“I was only recruited for lacrosse and two days before I was going to commit, coach [Alex] Bresner the defensive coordinator at Western New England reached out to me,” said Perry, who was intrigued by the idea of playing two sports, “I talked about it with my parent and as much as I though I might not, I would always miss football. I don’t think I was ready to cut that out of my life yet, especially after losing my senior season.”
The lacrosse commit, who thought his days on the gridiron were over, was suddenly dusting off his cleats.
It's a challenge that Perry embraces.
“It was a smooth process,” Perry said of his decision to play both sports, “What really attracts me to lacrosse is that everything is quick and there’s more of a flow to the game. For football, it’s the atmosphere. The brotherhood is better than anything else.”
His lacrosse journey started in the 4th grade and included him getting cut from his 7th grade travel team. He returned to the sport as a sophomore in high school, quickly relearned the game and making a big leap during club lacrosse last summer following the cancellation of the high school season.
Perry’s football journey has been a little less straightforward. He’s played several positions on both sides on the ball, most recently behind center as a starting quarterback.
“Honestly when I first stated playing football I didn’t like to get hit. I was a running back so I’d try and avoid people and outrun them,” recalled Perry, who will play outside the hashes in college, “The only film they had from me was my junior year as a quarterback and they talked to [GHS} coach [Eric] Hennessy, and I’m not sure what happened in that interview but as soon as they got back to me they told me I had a roster spot. I love playing defensive back but I’ll strongly pursue receiver. They told me I could always switch.”
Perry played nearly every sport growing up, including baseball, basketball, and soccer. Once in high school he focused primarily on football and lacrosse, showcasing a natural ability for both.
During the fall of 2019--which ended up being his final full football season because of the COVID cancellation---he was challenged mentally following his switch to signal caller.
“Everyone looks at Tom Brady or Patrick Mahomes and they look at the glamour of the position and they don’t really realize what is included. It’s a total different responsibility, you need to know everyone’s responsibilities. In a sense it was a benefit and helped me stay more mentally prepared and have a better IQ,” Perry recalled.
During his junior season behind center he had some excellent moments, throwing a pair of touchdown passes in his first start and then rushing for a touchdown and throwing the game-winner in a memorable 27-26 comeback victory over Conard in his third start.
He was slated to be the starter again this fall, which was limited to only a few 7-on-7 scrimmages because of the COVID restrictions.
“I love the football so much, so that was a low point when we realized we wouldn’t have a real season. Out last game was Bloomfield two years ago,” Perry said, referring to the team’s regular season finale on November 26, 2019, “Everyone always says play your last game like it’s your last, but we didn’t know at the time that was going to be your last game.”
Fortunately, his final lacrosse season at GHS did have a beginning and an end. The spring season featured a 14-0 shutout victory over East Catholic in the team’s regular season home finale, an unofficial win over Simsbury in the conference championship game (game suspended due to lightning with Glastonbury up 4-1), and a 14-7 triumph over Trumbull in the Class L tournament.
The tourney win over Trumbull was head coach Scott Hinchey’s 100th victory at GHS and was the final home game Perry ever played at his hometown high school.
“I miss the guys the most for lacrosse. There was a lot of camaraderie with the guys, we were a close-knit group and have been playing together since youth,” said Perry, who will never forget football’s Friday night lights, “I didn’t get a lot of them, but they were amazing. In the locker room, running out, warm-ups, the whole community is there. I’ll get it at college, but playing for this town that I’ve played for my whole life is what I’ll miss the most.”
He’ll be joining a pair of prominent programs at WNE. The football team most recently won 9 of 11 games in 2019 and will be chomping at the bit to get back on the field after having competition cancelled last fall. The lacrosse team, led by long time coach John Klempacki, won 10 of 12 games this spring.
Outside of sports, Perry was on a Leadership Committee that helped clean up local parks in Glastonbury. Now he’ll take his athletic gifts and leadership skills to a collegiate level.
“I’m excited to meet new people. I feel like it’s time for a change, especially after how this year went. I think all the seniors are excited to go and branch out. In high school you’re a big fish in a small pond and now you’re the little fish in a big pond. It's satisfying to start fresh,” said Perry, “I feel like I get better when I branch out. At the college level there are guys coming from all over, so you get to compete against new guys.”
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin