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Every fall, the Perrys grow their legacy as the state’s first family of football

Malden Catholic quarterback Will Perry (back) is flanked by his maternal grandmother, Judy Curtin (left), his paternal grandmother, Barbara Perry (right), and his mother, Kathleen Curtin Perry (front, center), after Friday night's win over Weymouth.PERRY FAMILY

Barbara Perry has a lot of choices to make each weekend of football season.

The mother of Andover coach EJ Perry III has five grandsons playing quarterback for a high school or college football program, so she has to stay organized in an effort to give each of them equal support.

Regardless of where she decided to go on Friday night, Barbara would have picked a winner.

In Andover, EJ Perry III coached his squad to an exciting 49-42 win over visiting Shrewsbury. To the south, in Marshfield, Jack Perry engineered a 75-yard scoring drive with 34 seconds remaining to lead St. John’s Prep in a 47-42 road win. And Barbara, 84, was in attendance at Malden Catholic, where another of her grandsons, Will, quarterbacked the Lancers to a 35-6 victory over Weymouth in his varsity debut.


“I try to give them all equal time,” Barbara said. “I have my calendar and when they first get their schedules, I study that, and tell them ahead of time the games that are easier for me to get to, and I truly love getting to their games.”

Barbara and her late husband, Ernie Perry Jr., have been traveling to games for decades to watch their five sons play.

All five were three-sport athletes in high school. Their oldest, EJ, was a 1,000-point scorer for the Colby College men’s basketball team before beginning his coaching career. Tim Perry played quarterback at Harvard, John Perry starred as a wideout at New Hampshire, Matt Perry played wide receiver at Northeastern, and James Perry was a record-setting quarterback at Brown.

James, a 1996 Globe/Phelps Scholar-Athlete recipient, is currently the head coach at Brown after a stint as the head coach at Bryant. John spent three seasons as the wide receivers coach for the Houston Texans and is now an offensive assistant at Rutgers.


All caught up? Now let’s move on to the next generation.

Tim’s son, Jack, is the starting quarterback for St. John’s Prep, which has won consecutive Division 1 state titles. The Perrys have a history at Prep as well. Ernie was a three-sport star at the Danvers private school before graduating in 1954, then going on to a Hall of Fame coaching career for the Lawrence and Methuen track & field programs.

John Perry Jr. is a red-shirt freshman at Merrimack, where his father previously served as head coach, and EJ Perry IV set the Ivy record for total offense in 2019 quarterbacking for his uncle, James, at Brown. EJ Perry III’s youngest son, Will, just made his debut for Malden Catholic after transferring from Andover last fall.

“You could kind of expect this growing up,” said Jack. “At every family reunion, everybody’s playing football, and we all play in grandma’s backyard together, and we’re all at the same [training] camps, so it’s pretty cool to see us growing up and doing the same thing.”

“My dad and my uncle, James, they really taught me all the right techniques and mechanics at a young age. It’s really cool to be part of that atmosphere and just talk football with them, because they really know their stuff, so you take in everything you can get.”

While Barbara still drives, she often gets a ride from her daughter, Louise, to night games or contests that are far from Andover. Last Friday, she watched EJ Perry III coach against Naples (Fla.), then went to Merrimack on Saturday to watch a Warriors win over Saint Anselm.


And there are more Perry quarterbacks in the pipeline.

Matt Perry’s kids, Matt Jr. and Joe, and James Perry’s son, Nate, are all elementary schoolers getting their start in local flag football leagues. James’s older son, Sam, is a seventh-grade quarterback starting for the La Salle Academy (R.I.) middle school team.

If the official return of Friday night lights didn’t bring enough joy to his heart, EJ Perry III said that the news pouring in of his son and nephew’s success made the postgame glow of Andover’s opening win even brighter.

“[Friday] night was surreal because we had the 18 months of COVID and we won a close game in front of a packed house,” he said. “And after I talked to my team [postgame] I started to hear about the highlights [by Jack and Will]. I was sitting in my office for an extra hour just to enjoy it. It was one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had.”

Extra points

▪ Springfield Central hosted Central Catholic Friday night in a game with 119 points, which is likely the highest scoring high school game since Andover beat Lowell, 88-82, in an eight-overtime thriller in 2010. Andover running back Andy Coke tallied 64 points in the contest with eight touchdowns and eight 2-point conversions, but Central Catholic senior quarterback Ayden Pereira did one better with 10 total touchdowns and 610 scrimmage yards (448 passing, 162 rushing) in a 67-52 win at Springfield’s Berte Field.


▪ Several new coaches picked up their first victories (either career or with a new program) this weekend, including Beverly’s Jeff Hutton, Westford’s Bruce Rich Jr., Triton’s Eric Burgos, Dighton-Rehoboth’s Kevin Gousie, Seekonk’s Jason Azulay, Ayer-Shirley’s Billy Wright and Duxbury’s Matt Landolfi, who won two games as interim coach in the spring.

▪ Melrose’s 40-21 setback against Reading on Friday ended the Red Raiders’ run of 21 straight victories, leaving Mansfield with the state’s longest active winning streak at 17 games. If you only count in-state games the Hornets have won 18 in a row dating to a 2018 triple-overtime loss to Foxboro. Marblehead and Central Catholic have nine-game winning streaks.

Correspondent Brendan Kurie also contributed to this story. Go to bostonglobe.com/schools for Week 1 Players of the Week.