ARLINGTON — As Arlington Bowie’s players meandered off Wilemon Field on Thursday night after a 55-6 rout of Weatherford, they removed their jerseys and shoulder pads .
Underneath was a common shirt worn by the whole team with a burnt orange 7 on the back.
It was a gesture the coaching staff gave toward their senior quarterback, Keaton Perry, who suffered his third knee ligament tear in as many years during Bowie’s second game of the season, thinking he’d hang up his pads for good.
Thursday was the first time the team wore the shirt. It was also the first time Perry returned to the field, knee wrapped tightly in a large brace, to finish out his senior season.
“He’s a warrior,” said fellow quarterback and part-time wide receiver Tony James. “Not matter what obstacle is out there he’s going to get over it and he’s going to keep on going.”
On one leg, Perry threw for 206 yards and four touchdowns. Bowie improved to 3-1 overall, 1-0 in District 3-5A. Weatherford is 0-4, 0-1.
“It felt great,” Perry said. “Everybody had kind of written me off and said he can’t come back from a third ACL. It was great to be back out here with my team and doing what I love to do.”
The senior thought he would only see limited playing time in the garbage time of the fourth quarter, but coach Danny DeArman put him into action at the end of the first quarter.
After two incomplete passes, Perry connected with James on an 83-yard catch and run, just as the two had drawn up in their imaginations before the game, they said.
With the clock running in the second half after a 34-0 halftime score, Perry connected with James again on a 68-yard touchdown pass and Jamal Brown on a 15-yard pass in the third quarter.
He followed it up with a 1-yard fade to Phil Cann.
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