ARLINGTON -- Kenny Perry has waited years to coach his son, Keaton, at Arlington Bowie, and that time finally has arrived.
"We've been talking about it my whole life," said Keaton, the Volunteers quarterback. "I remember being a ball boy ever since elementary and always wanting to play for him on Friday nights."
All of Bowie's playmakers got in on the action during< a 59-43 season-opening victory over Mansfield.
Bowie's total yards: 598
(11.5 yards per play)
Passing yards: 344
(12.7 yards per attempt)
Rushing yards: 254
(10.2 yards per attempt)
QB Keaton Perry: Passed for 344 yards, 4 TDs; rushed for 94 yards, TD
WR Eric Rivers: Rushed for 74 yards, 2 TDs; 3 receptions for 61 yards, TD
WR Tony James: 7 receptions, 146 yards, 2 TDs
WR Jordan Versey: 7 receptions, 107 yards
WR Wesley Thomas: 2 receptions, 96 yards, TD
RB Brican Crossley: 10 rushes, 71 yards, TD; 1 reception, 17 yards
In Keaton's first start under center, a 59-43 win over Mansfield last week, the Volunteers rung up almost 600 yards of total offense and scored on five plays of 30 yards or longer. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound junior accounted for 438 total yards and five touchdowns.
On one early play, Keaton threw a 50-yard bomb while standing two yards deep in his own end zone, hitting Tony James in stride before the speedy wideout raced the final 52 yards to paydirt. The 92-yard scoring strike is the longest play from scrimmage in school history.
Then Perry flashed some speed of his own by ripping off an 83-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter.
"Keaton's been around me long enough to know that you're only as good as your last game, and at some point, people are going to boo you and say things about you," coach Perry said. "The difference between him and me is that I want to fight about it, and Keaton just lets that stuff roll off of him."
Since taking over a moribund Volunteer program in 2006, coach Perry built Bowie into one of the area's top programs with the tough mentality of running the football and playing physical defense. Perry built a sterling record of 59-19 in six seasons and led the Volunteers to the playoffs every year.
But after surrendering a 17-point lead and losing to eventual state champion Southlake Carroll last year in the regional semifinals, Perry came to the conclusion that to win a state title, the Vols were going to have to become more of a passing offense than in years past.
So Perry and his staff hit the road in the offseason and "spent countless hours" visiting prolific passing college programs such as Oklahoma State, SMU and Texas A&M to learn and implement the Air Raid passing attack at Bowie.
"We kept looking back at games we were losing in the playoffs, and we could always do some things but we could never throw the ball consistently," Perry said. "If we had big mauling offensive linemen like Martin, Trinity and those guys, then we would run the football because I'm a defensive guy at heart, but that's not the type of kids we have."
What they do have is smart, athletic linemen and a lot of speed, starting with four receivers who all had more than 60 receiving yards in the first game.
One of those playmakers is senior Eric Rivers, who amassed over 700 combined yards last season in Bowie's run-oriented scheme but is excited about the new system.
"Last year, you never knew when you were going to get the ball again," Rivers said. "But this year, the ball is just coming to you all of the time, so you just have to make plays."
For Keaton, this season is also a return from a devastating knee injury suffered last year against rival Arlington Martin. He was thrown into the fray when starter Kolby Listenbee was injured just a few plays prior.
The junior had to have ACL reconstructive surgery and missed most of last season but returned just four months later in time for spring ball, having grown two inches and added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame.
Now, with Keaton at quarterback, the new system in place, the multitude of weapons at the skill positions and a defense with the Volunteers' trademark speed and aggressiveness, Bowie appears built for the long haul.
"If we can get all of these weapons going, we could have something, and they all do something different," Perry said. "It's one of those deals that everything's kind of lining up, and another thing is that we're young. [Receiver] Wesley [Thomas] and Eric are seniors, but all of the other skill players are juniors and sophomores -- there are some kids coming up who are going to be special."
Jarret Johnson, 817-390-7760
We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Comments deemed inappropriate will be removed and repeated abusers will be banned. NOTE: If you log in using your Twitter account, your comments will be signed using the name on your Twitter profile, NOT your Twitter user name. Read our full comment policy.