North/West Xtra: Quaker Valley's Perkins can score

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It doesn't matter whether skating on ice or running on a field, Quaker Valley senior Jimmy Perkins will find a way to score.

"The biggest thing for Jimmy is, no matter what sport he's playing, he has a passion for scoring," Quaker Valley coach Kevin Quinn said. "He'll do whatever it takes to score and he has that ability to finish."

Perkins was the Division II Player of the Year in lacrosse last season for the WPIAL runner-up Quakers, scoring 90 goals and adding 42 assists in 17 games.

On the ice, Perkins entered the week leading PIHL Class A with 30 goals and 46 assists. For his career, he has scored 94 times in a Quakers uniform.

He has done a lot of his scoring close to the net, despite not being the most imposing figure at 5 feet 8, 160 pounds.

"I guess I'm always just in the right place at the right time," said Perkins, a Sewickley resident. "I'm willing to go to the net and get to dirty areas.

"My freshman and sophomore years, I got roughed up some and the upperclassmen were always stepping in to help me. But if you keep going to the net, it pays off. If you're going to score goals, you can't be afraid to take a hit."

Perkins' success comes despite getting a later start than most hockey players.

Perkins grew up playing baseball and football, but became interested in hockey after watching the Quakers win the 2006 state championship.

"My older siblings were at the school then and hung out with some of the players on the team," Perkins said. "I was inspired by them. Just watching them win the state title and the bond that they shared, it got me into the sport."

But it wasn't easy for Perkins at the beginning. In fact, he almost quit. But he credits Quinn for helping him stick with the sport.

The Quaker Valley coach remembers Perkins' struggles in the early days, but still saw the same tenacity to attack the net.

"When he first attended my hockey camp, he couldn't stop [skating]," Quinn said. "He kept going to the net and I was afraid he was going to wipe out."

Quinn said Perkins hasn't missed much ice time since, other than when he's playing lacrosse. Even then, many of the skills from lacrosse transfer to the ice.

"Both are great hand-eye coordination sports," Quinn said. "I grew up in Canada and lacrosse is actually the country's national sport, not hockey like most people think. A lot of great hockey players, such as John Tavares and Joe Nieuwendyk, were phenomenal lacrosse players."

Perkins plans to play lacrosse in college and said he is leaning toward Lake Erie College, although he has another visit to Wheeling Jesuit planned.

But first he wants to avenge a few losses from last season. After the Quakers (13-1 entering the week) won the 2012 state title and then went undefeated through the PIHL last season on their way to a second consecutive Penguins Cup title, Quaker Valley lost, 6-5, in the Class A state title game to West Chester East.

Then in lacrosse, despite Perkins' six goals, Quaker Valley lost to Seton-LaSalle, 13-8, in the WPIAL Division 2 final.

The losses have fueled Perkins this season as he wants to finish his high school career in style.

"It was a heartbreaker in both sports," Perkins said. "It's very draining because you start in August at Coach Quinn's 'Q Camp' and then the season goes until March and then I had lacrosse.

"It was eye-opening and my lacrosse coach said it makes you wish you did extra drills and worked just a little harder. That's something I've taken seriously this year, knowing it's my last crack at it. I'm giving it all I have."

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