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Perkins provides all-season support for Cyclones

Douglas Fritz • Updated Dec 19, 2018 at 3:41 PM

Every successful team needs a foundation, and Evan Perkins has provided a building block for all seasons.

The Elizabethton High School senior has enjoyed a calendar year few players can match.

It started in the spring when Perkins was an integral part of a Cyclones’ baseball team that reached the state tournament and defeated the eventual Class AA champion.

In the fall, Perkins was a dangerous and productive receiver for a Cyclones’ football team that gave eventual state champion Greeneville its toughest game of the year.

And as the winter season is under way, Perkins has been an important part of the Cyclones’ 8-1 start.

“The multi-sport athlete is kind of a thing of the past because of sport specialization,” said Elizabethton basketball coach Lucas Honeycutt. “It’s something we’ve been trying to work on to get our kids to understand it is doable to play three sports. You see that with Evan. He has been successful in it. I know it’s tough on him, balancing all of those things. But it’s something that can be done for certain athletes. I think Evan is a special kid. I know when he looks back on his sports career he will have no regrets. He has done everything he could do for four years.”

DAYS OF YOUTH

Perkins was always somewhere near a ball field or gym from the time he was old enough to play.

“The first thing I remember is playing grasscutter football when I was five,” Perkins said. “Then I played teeball, youth club basketball, and all of that.”

When he got to high school, Perkins contemplated the idea of dropping basketball from his busy schedule.

“I wasn’t going to play, but then I figured I might as well since I had played everything my whole life,” he said. “And once I started playing, there was no reason to quit. It can put a strain on your body, but I just kept pushing through.”

Perkins didn’t commit to a favorite sport, although baseball was always near the top.

“Right now my favorite sport is whatever season it is,” he said.

CLOSE CALL

Elizabethton finished third in the state in baseball, but whipped eventual champion Greeneville in the region final.

That fact, combined with the tough battle in football with the Greene Devils, is something that still doesn’t sit well with Perkins and his teammates in those sports.

“It gnaws at us real bad,” said Perkins. “We were so close. It kills us every time we see it.”

But the baseball state berth left lasting memories.

“It was an amazing trip,” said Perkins. “It was the first time I went to the state in any sport. It was a very different experience and very awesome.”

WHAT THE COACHES SAY

Cyclones’ football coach Shawn Witten said he loved coaching Perkins.

“He always brought a smile to practice,” said Witten. “He was a security blanket for me as a slot receiver for three years. He was a clutch player.”

Honeycutt said Perkins plays tall.

“He’s not very tall, but he makes up for that with his strength,” said Honeycutt. “He’s solid. You get a hold of his arm and you can tell the kid put in a lot of work in the weight room.

“And he’s just so fast. His first step is amazing. He blows by people. And he has gotten stronger and faster every year we coached him.”

FUTURE PLANS

Perkins received a football offer from Culver-Stockton College — an NAIA school in Missouri — but hasn’t made a decision. He said he considered visiting Lindsey Wilson in Kentucky along with teammate Carter Everett, but decided against it.

Perkins said he’s hoping to get a baseball offer from UVA-Wise, the school where his father played.

OUTSIDE OF SPORTS

Perkins likes to get away from the games from time to time.

“I hunt and fish a little,” he said. “I killed one deer so far this year. I hunt in Piney Flats. We go on Saturdays when I can find a few minutes.”

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