Perkins achieves first goal of season

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, September 5, 2001

Emmanuel Perkins smiled broadly when he was informed of thehonor. The Brookhaven junior strong safety has been named The DailyLeader’s Defensive Player of the Week for the first week of the2001 campaign.

“One of my goals was to be Defensive Player of the Week for thefirst week of the season,” said Perkins. In Brookhaven’s narrow35-32 win over Hazlehurst, Perkins accounted for 2 interceptions, 8tackles and a fumble recovery.

Brookhaven head coach Andrew Hickman recognized thecontributions Perkins has made to the team. “Emmanuel is definitelyone of our team leaders on and off the field. He started the seasonoff being around the ball and making good plays for us.

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“He’s an impact player on our defense,” Hickman continued. “Weneed to have him playing consistently every week. He has prettygood speed. He’s a smart type of player and he’ll hit yougood.”

Perkins (6-0, 180) has learned much about his position in thesecondary, both as a player and as an observer. Last spring, on thesecond day of practice, he fractured a bone in his right forearm,putting him on the sidelines for the remainder of the practicesessions.

“Looking at the game from the sidelines, you can learn more,”said Perkins. “I picked up some things when my arm was broken. I’mglad that’s over with.”

Wiser and stronger, Perkins stepped in at the start of preseasonpractice in August and found a home at safety. “I cover the slot incertain coverages. I’ve got a quarter of the field to cover deep inFour coverage.”

On running plays, Perkins usually comes up fast and covers thequarterback on the option play. “I have to come up and get thepitch man.”

Working as Brookhaven’s secondary coach is Patrick Hardy, aformer BHS defensive back himself. “Coach Hardy says the defensivebacks are the best athletes on the team.”

Perkins is humble about his accomplishments and gives hisCreator the glory. “I thank God for my interceptions and tackles. Imade a lot of mistakes myself against Hazlehurst. I have to workhard to get better.”

Perkins intercepted his first pass just before halftime. Hetried to pitch the ball to a teammate and it almost was recoveredby Hazlehurst. “That was a big mistake.”

He wears jersey No. 3, a number he started wearing in juniorhigh. Last year Perkins’ older brother, quarterback Fred Perkins,starred for Brookhaven and wore No. 3, leading the Panthers to thestate playoffs and a 7-3 record.

Because of that broken arm, Perkins said his arm strength inless than what he wants it to be. He benches 230 pounds and squatswith 320. “I worked on my legs a lot when my arm was broken.”

Asked about his speed in the 40-yard dash, Perkins said, “I’msuper slow but I’m working hard to get faster.”

Perkins said senior cornerback Marcus Foxworth has helped himbecome a better player. “Marcus has been making some niceopen-field tackles.”

Also working in the secondary are Zachary Jones at cornerbackand Kendell Nickelson and Abe Blue at free safety.

“There’s a lot of talent on our defense but there’s certainlyroom for improvement,” said Perkins. “I think we will surprise somepeople this year. I believe we can beat Vicksburg.”

The Panthers will find out Friday night when the Gators invadeKing Field for Brookhaven’s first home game of the season.