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New Bishop O’Dowd head football coach David Perry interjected during a zoom meeting with some of his players and delivered a fun message when they talked about him.
“Keeps it 100,” Perry said, laughing.
That moment was indicative of just who these new-look Bishop O’Dowd Dragons are under Perry – fun, committed and hungry to put the football program on the map.
There are twinkles in his eyes and players when they discuss the energy around this squad. Everyone is tight. Everyone is a family.
Perry is joking around with his players. They’re all enjoying being around the game of football, even if these last few months have been far different than anyone expected.
“ I feel like out of any coach I’ve had, he’s like the closest with all of us,” said Bishop O’Dowd senior Alessandro Paez. “He jokes with us, but then he’s super real with us and keeps it real and guides us. He’s just a great coach, and he’s just instilled a great program and a great mindset onto us. Now we all want to be the best at what we can do.”
Yet Perry and the Dragons never blinked an eye, establishing their foundation as a program and working every second they get to carve out a banner type of 2021 spring football campaign in Oakland.
“When he first started, he really laid out that we’re going to be a non-quit program. We’re going to be focused,” said Bishop O’Dowd junior linebacker Ty Jones. “We’re going to be locked in with everything we do. Family, school with sports, anything. Whatever it is, we have to give 100 percent no matter what.”
And the Dragons are locked in on everything and ready to make a name for themselves.
Through their four pillars – faith, family, football and future – the Dragons are present in everything and dedicated to becoming the best they can be in everything on and off the field. They’re not only here to become an excellent football team, but they are here to become excellent individuals, excellent family men, excellent people for the remainder of their lives.
Those tenants have been instilled in each and every one of the players on the roster, and they are believing and then some in Perry and his staff.
“I think from the moment coach Perry got on the campus, I think he made it really clear,” said Bishop O’Dowd senior athlete Harrison Jenkins, who boasts offers from Carnegie Mellon, Davidson, San Diego, Southern Oregon and Valparaiso. “He really wants us to be about family and he really wants everybody to be the best person they can be through this and also dominate on the field.
“I really feel like me and coach have similar values, and I respect that so much. Whether it’s making sure he instills a foundation of faith within us or making sure we’re all trying to be self motivated. He’s definitely brought like a culture of working hard and having faith and just being solid men, being solid men, men of God and family people.”
With their foundation in place, they are hungry. They are ready for more. Ready for something big. Something crazy.
After a surprising down year at O’Dowd that featured a 3-7 campaign and a missed playoff berth after winning a North Coast Section title in 2018 and going 12-2 that season, things are going to look different in 2021.
In fact, they are going to look far different.
“Coach Perry has built us on being the best,” said Bishop O’Dowd senior quarterback Jesse Madden, who has a preferred walk-on offer from Michigan. “We want to be the best. We don’t want to be average. We want to be the best at everything that we do, and at school, we want to be the best family men we can be, the best students we can be, the best players we can be and the best sons of God we can be.
“And coach has laid down his four pillars – family, faith, football and future. Coach Perry is building a program to be the best, not be average. We got to be the best. You don’t strive to lose the state championship. You strive to win the state championship game.”
Being the best is all they are concerned about. Despite the trying times right now, each player is working on ways to get ready, whether that is studying the playbook, training, anything to get an extra leg up on the competition and show the world just what this latest installment of Bishop O’Dowd football is.
Because the Dragons are ready to win. They are ready to win big. Ready to win championships.
Bishop O’Dowd is here to stay.
“I want them to be great sons and honor their father and mother, or their guardians,” Perry said. “Their future, I want 100 percent college eligibility on my football team. And then for football I want a state championship. I want league champs. NCS champs. And state champs. The whole purpose for that is kind of what these guys are saying. It’s like seeing that big picture.”
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