There will be times this season when opposing football teams stack the line of scrimmage to try to stop Columbus North standout running back Mitchell Burton.
That doesn’t faze senior quarterback Triston Perry and his Bull Dog teammates in the least. The third-year starter has the experience and confidence necessary to win games with his arm.
“When we can’t run the ball, we start throwing it a little bit, and it opens it up for Mitchell, too,” Perry said. “We kind of feed off each other. Taking (the pressure) off him definitely helps. They really key on him, so it opens it up for everybody else.”
That was the case in Friday’s season-opening 52-7 rout of Franklin. While Burton was held to four yards on seven first-half carries, Perry connected with J.D. Harris on a 50-yard scoring strike with about 5 minutes left in the first half to break a scoreless tie.
In the second half, Perry threw two more touchdown passes to Jaylen Flemmons.
“I felt pretty comfortable out there,” Perry said. “The O-line gave me time to throw the ball, so I really wasn’t worried about anyone coming through. Jaylen Flemmons and Trey (Vincent) had really good games. They squeezed the ball and pretty much caught anything I threw out there.”
Perry finished 20 of 25 for 229 yards. His 20 completions tied for the fourth-highest single-game total in school history.
North coach Tim Bless credited his team’s offensive line with giving Perry time to throw and opening holes for Burton.
“It all starts up front,” Bless said. “You can have the best quarterback and/or the best running back, but if you can’t block anybody, you’re still going to struggle. Fortunately, we feel pretty good about our offensive dynamic this year. Obviously, Mitchell Burton is a known commodity as one of the best in the state, and now Triston’s level of maturity, confidence, athleticism is taking him to heights he’s never seen before.”
Although he is being recruited by Football Championship Subdivision non-scholarship schools Butler and Dayton, along with a few Division-II schools, Perry isn’t sure he wants to play at the next level.
Perry, who carries better than a 3.5 GPA, wants to study psychology with the intention of going on to law school.
“If I got an offer, I definitely would play, but I’m not really going to be bummed if I don’t,” Perry said.
This summer, Perry attended camps at Ball State and Butler. He also threw a lot of passes with North receivers on the Bull Dogs’ field.
Bless said Perry’s ability to throw the ball keeps North’s offense from being one-dimensional.
“Each and every year, we come in seeking balance,” Bless said. “We never want to be a team that runs it 80 percent of the time or throws it 80 percent of the time. We feel that our offensive structure gives us the capability of taking what the defense gives us.”
Friday night, Perry will get his final shot at beating crosstown rival Columbus East. He made his first start in the rivalry last season, when the Olympians claimed a 28-21 victory.
Perry isn’t getting caught up in the hype.
“It’s just another week,” Perry said. “We kind of tune out all the hoopla and everything. It’s just another game for us.”
Name: Triston Perry
School: Columbus North
Sports: Football, track
Favorite sport: Football
Other activities: Works with special needs kids through Best Buddies, scuba diving