A look back at Perry's football season

Sean Cordy, Correspondent
Special to the Chief
The Perry Bluejays get set to take the field for a homecoming game against the Clarke Indians on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, at Dewey Field in Perry.

It's a wrap for Perry football in 2021. Now it's time to look back at how the season unfolded.

4 Seasons

As difficult as it may be to see, the fact remains that the football team hasn't won a game in the last four seasons. It has become a startling pattern, and one that may take more time to solve as the coaching staff and administration looks for creative solutions.

Class 4A

Perry's move out of the Raccoon River Conference and into the Heart of Iowa this season has the potential to shift things for the Bluejays in other sports, but not football where schools are pooled into districts with schools of similarly sized schools with large talent pools. 

With the state moving from five to six class sizes this season, Perry drew the short stick after being promoted from Class 3A to 4A for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. That was the opposite of the administration's proposition to the IHSAA, presenting a case to temporarily drop classes as an exception.

Perry's roster size more closely resembles a Class 2A or even a 1A team and is not representative of a school with an enrollment of over 400 students. And as injuries mounted, fewer players were on the sideline, getting to the point of needing to play shortened quarters along with a rolling clock. Not only did the competition present a physical challenge for Perry players to make memories on the field or see themselves among stat leaders, but they literally provided a challenge of time itself.

Perry's quarterback Caden Heck passes the ball against Boone during the first quarter at Boone High Football field Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Boone, Iowa.

It was so close to not being that way, or at least to those extremes. 

Despite the IHSAA hearing Perry's case to temporarily drop classes, when it came down to breaking a tie between Carroll and Keokuk — which have equal enrollment sizes to Perry — the state decided to go by reverse alphabetical order and place Perry as the smallest Class 4A team while Carroll and Keokuk became the largest schools in Class 3A (Carroll finished 5-4 while Keokuk was 2-7 this season.)

How much would the season have looked different in a smaller class remains to be seen, but the challenge was no doubt exacerbated by its competition.


The Bluejays were placed in a gauntlet of a schedule. Through the regular season, their opponents held a record of 49-37. That included the likes of Indianola and Bondurant-Farrar, two teams aiming for a state championship this season. And while contenders have to play somebody, scores of 63-0 and 62-7 nevertheless shine a light on the disparity between competition as it currently exists.

Perry's Holden Smith runs the ball after catching a pass from Caden Heck on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, at Dewey Field in Perry.