NIXA, Mo. — Not even the rain can drown out the Mississippi twang of Nixa Head Coach John Perry
“He just always have something weird to say,” Nixa senior defensive lineman John Gholson said. “He’s still got funny sayings like he’s always got some Mississippi slang to him”
“There’s definitely a lot of stuff he says that’s rubbed off on some people,” Nixa junior quarterback Connor Knatcal said. “It’s definitely funny sometimes to hear because it’s slang that we don’t really hear that much around here.”
“I think they’re somewhat used to it now,” Perry said. “They’ve really gotten used to the Mississippi twang as well I think.”
But while his voice has left an impact, his coaching is leaving a bigger one now in his second year and second winning season marking the best back to back years in nearly a decade for the Eagles.
“Last year and this year when he’s been here, he’s more involved in the community and just more involved in general,” Knatcal said. “I feel like definitely it’s one of the reasons we’re winning and it’s great.”
“Before Coach Perry came here, we just kind of did the walkthrough,” Gholson said. “This is how it goes. We’re supposed to beat this team. We don’t beat this team. Really, since last year we’ve kind of like stepped it up, you know? And say hey, we’re out here to beat everyone.”
But that success doesn’t come without a target.
Just look at last week’s Backyard Brawl – as Ozark gave Nixa all it had tied 21 at halftime before the Eagles managed to secure the 14 point win.
“I told them today I’m so thankful to be their coach because of the way they play when adversity strikes,” Perry said. “Friday night, we had made several mistakes, threw some interceptions, just things weren’t going our way. But the only thing we asked them to do at halftime was let it go. You know, we don’t control a lot of things except our attitude and effort and they’ve been great doing that.”
No rest for Nixa, however, as Nixa now hosts a Webb City group with the exact level of program history Perry is trying to build with his Eagles and a Cardinal Head Coach who helped Perry adjust to Missouri two years ago.
“I mean, that was my first visit I made when I got here was to go sit down with John Roderique because when you google Missouri football his name is the first one on the list,” Perry said. “Like, he’s fantastic man. He’s an awesome coach, but he’s a better person. He’s been a good friend to me since I’ve been here. Anything I’ve ever needed he’s helped me out and you know it’s been great.”