Segerstrom running back David Perkins is one of the leading rushers in the county and a big reason that Segerstrom is 7-0 going into its game against Orange on Thursday night.

Perkins' passion keeps Segerstrom running strong


SANTA ANA - A lot of kids nowadays choose to plant themselves in front of TV screens and play video games all day.

Segerstrom's David Perkins wasn't one of those kids.

By the time he learned how to walk as a toddler, he was already learning how to play basketball or he was running around with a football. He had a voracious appetite for athletics and he wanted to get outside and play basketball, football, baseball, track, volleyball ... pretty much everything.

"I wasn't so caught up in technology," Perkins said. "I wanted to stay out as long as I can. Stay out until the street lights came on, come inside and do it all over again."

Perkins comes from a family of athletes. His father, David Sr., played basketball at Esperanza and Cal State Fullerton, his mom, Shirrena, was a cheerleader and ran track at Ocean View, and his older sister, Cheree, ran track.

"I started playing basketball as soon as I knew how to walk," Perkins said. "I've always been an athletic person and I catch on quick."

Perkins has narrowed it down to three sports since he has been at Segerstrom. He is the star running back for the football team, the starting point guard for the basketball team, and he runs the 100 meters and the 4x100 relay for the track and field team.

"Athletics has always been my dream, my passion," Perkins said.

Right now, Perkins' No. 1 passion is leading the Jaguars football team to a fourth consecutive Golden West League title and a CIF-SS Southern Division championship. Segerstrom, ranked No. 1 in the Southern Division, is 7-0 overall and 2-0 in league.

Perkins leads the county in scoring with 20 touchdowns and he is eighth in the county in rushing with 1,093 yards on 92 carries. That's 11.9 yards per carry for the 5-foot-6, 165-pound senior.

Perkins said this is the season his senior class has been pointing to since they arrived at Segerstrom as freshmen. Perkins and many of his teammates grew up playing Pop Warner together on the Santa Ana Redskins and Santa Ana Monarchs. They even made it all the way to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida.

"Our team was basically how we are now. We didn't have the size, but we had speed," he said. "Speed has always been our specialty with our class."

Quarterback Raymond Avalos, running back Sonny Roa, linebacker Andrew Soto and tight ends Gilbert Meza and Brandon Arroyos are some of the Jaguars who played with Perkins on that team that reached the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

"In Pop Warner, we accomplished our goal and that was to get to Florida and we did that," Perkins said. "Now we're taking that bigger step to get to where we want to get to. It's a great feeling to be doing it with these guys."

Mike Maceranka has been the school's football coach since Segerstrom opened eight years ago. He said the goal was for the program to improve steadily each season. The Jaguars are trying to become the first Santa Ana school to win four consecutive league championships.

Segerstrom reached the CIF-SS Southern Division quarterfinals the past season. This season, the goal is to get to the semifinals and beyond.

"This is a special group," Maceranka said. "They know how to win. It's a solid bunch of kids. We tell them what to do and how to do it and they do it. They are so strong from a mental standpoint."

What has helped make the Jaguars so special this season is their high-powered wing-T offense, which is similar to what Tustin runs. Segerstrom's offense generates 406.1 rushing yards per game.

"It (the wing-T) has been instilled in us since freshman year, so it's become like second nature to us," Perkins said. "Now, it's just like mastering it. We know what to do now."

Maceranka said college recruiters love Perkins' speed and quickness, especially his quickness. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Eastern Washington, Azusa Pacific and Montana have been recruiting him.

When Perkins isn't breaking huge runs, Roa and fullback Joseph Gomez are pounding away on the ground. The three backs have been best friends since elementary school, which makes their bond even stronger on the football field.

"When eyes are on me, that's when Sonny has his moment," Perkins said. "When eyes are on Sonny, that's when our fullback Joseph has his moment. When those two are getting keyed, that's when I have my moment. Teams have no clue what to expect."

Perkins said he, Roa and Gomez all know their roles.

"Sonny is an aggressive, hard runner," Perkins said. "He isn't the biggest running back, but he is a great running back. He always gets the job done. ... His speed is ridiculous and his strength is ridiculous. He runs like a big back.

"Joseph is the big back that wants to be a little back. He has the footwork like a little running back, but he has the strength of a lineman."

As for his own running style?

"I just fit in where I can," Perkins said.

Perkins usually fits into the end zone on game nights.

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