South Xtra: Perry returns 'home' to lead Keystone Oaks

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Greg Perry may have changed jobs, but he'll still be in familiar territory.

Perry resigned as the Seton-LaSalle head football coach in December after 20 years at the school -- the last nine as the head coach -- and took the head coaching job literally right across the street at Keystone Oaks in early January.

It is a homecoming for Perry, who played football for the Golden Eagles in the 1970s, graduating from the school in 1979.

"I'm really excited to come back home," said Perry, a Green Tree resident. "I've spend the past 20 years right across the street and I've always stayed knowledgeable on how [Keystone Oaks] was doing.

"And I've coached many of the kids from Keystone Oaks on youth teams -- whether in basketball, softball or baseball. It'll be nice now to make an impact on the team and teach the kids the value of athletics and academics and hopefully help them play in college."

Perry's familiarity with the program and its players should ease the transition as the Golden Eagles' seniors must adjust to their third head coach in four seasons after Matt Taylor resigned after two seasons with a 4-14 record.

Perry, meanwhile, brings with him a sparkling resume. He went 73-24 in his nine years as head coach of the Rebels, advancing to the postseason eight times and making it to the quarterfinals each of the past four seasons.

Prior to becoming head coach, Perry was the offensive coordinator from 1994-2004 for a Seton-LaSalle team that won two WPIAL titles during that span.

He typically runs a spread offense, and he thinks he has the pieces to instill at least some of his playbook from the jump.

"We'll put in bits and pieces," Perry said. "We'll adapt to the personnel and gradually work into what I want to see. Having a quarterback who has played for a few years helps out, because the system is very quarterback dependent."

Kobe Phillippi will start under center for the Golden Eagles for the third consecutive season. Last season, Phillippi completed 57.5 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,028 yards and 14 touchdowns while only getting picked off four times. He also ran for 154 yards and two scores.

Additionally, leading rusher Jimmy Canello, who ran for 422 yards and had an additional 118 yards receiving on 10 catches, returns for his senior season.

The duo gives Keystone Oaks hope in Perry's first season, although he said he'll know more after his team's first two games.

"We have to prepare for Quaker Valley Aug. 29," Perry said. "They'll probably be one of the top teams in Class AA. Then, after that, we go play South Fayette, the defending state champions. So we're opening up with two of what will likely be the top 4 teams in Class AA. I don't know if that's good or bad. We just need to come ready to play because they aren't going to take it easy on us.

"After those two weeks, we'll know where we need to be."

But Perry knows that no matter the outcome, he is exactly where he and his family want to be -- at home.

"There's definitely excitement in our family," Perry said. "Both my daughters went to Keystone Oaks, but they would wear Seton-LaSalle stuff. I'm not sure how that went over, but they were proud of what their dad was doing.

"Now, they are proud to wear Keystone Oaks gear."

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