Going from a 2-12-1 start in 2009 to a state semifinal appearance last year, Perry led Allatoona to the summit this year as the Lady Buccaneers went
20-2-1, won the Region 7AAA and then, the Class AAA state crown.
For leading Allatoona to its first-ever state championship, Perry is the 2012 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County girls soccer coach of the year.
“After 20 years of coaching, it’s a great honor to be recognized,” Perry said. “A lot of the credit goes to the kids in our programs. They worked so hard to reach this point. There are a lot of great coaches in this county, so this is a big honor.”
For Perry, the Lady Buccaneers’ state title is only the beginning for a young Allatoona athletic program that is starting to emerge among the state elite.
“I think a lot of the programs here at Allatoona have been knocking on the door for the last one or two years and this year, we finally kind of got to the point where enough programs get the experience to get into the state finals,” Perry said. “Maybe not enough to get a win, but I think the girls have helped open the door. Every Allatoona program here is run by fantastic coaches. The administration has put together an awesome staff and I’m glad we’re the first, but I know there’s going to be tons more to follow because of the kids and the coaches and the environment here.”
Perry didn’t take the easy route to the state title as he loaded Allatoona’s 2012 schedule with a number of local Class AAAAA teams.
However, the Lady Buccaneers passed through that tough test with flying colors as they won all four of their games against AAAAA squads — beating state playoff teams Hillgrove, Kennesaw Mountain and North Cobb as well as Marietta.
“We’re excited about it,” Perry said. “I believe that in order to be the best, you have to play the best and we want to play the best teams that we can. It’s great to play all the local teams, because the kids know each other and it creates some local rivalries.”
After wins over Walnut Grove, West Laurens, Woodward Academy and Gainesville in the first four rounds of the state playoffs, Allatoona got their coveted state title in the finals against Columbus — a team that handed the Lady Buccaneers one of their two losses during the regular season.
Goals by Willough Davis and Kristi Wise proved to be the difference for Allatoona in its 2-1 win over Columbus that gave Perry and his Lady Buccaneers their first state title.
“It was a great day for the kids — especially the seniors who came here when the program began four years ago,” Perry said. “It validated all the hard work and effort they have put in.”
Next year, Perry and his Allatoona squad will face the challenge of moving up to Class AAAAA as well as another rugged non-region schedule that includes a number of state powerhouses.
“We’ve put together another tough schedule,” Perry said. “Hillgrove is on our schedule again, Columbus is on our schedule again and we’re adding Harrison, Pope and McIntosh. It’s going to be tough to contend again, but if our underclassmen step up, then we have a good chance.”