Former Juneau-Douglas standout football player Jack Perkins has had an up-and-down year.
After scoring two touchdowns in a 69-6 thrashing of Lathrop heading into the 2009 regular-season finale against Colony at Adair-Kennedy Memorial Park, Perkins was hurt early against the Knights and did not return.
As it turned out, he tore the ACL in his left knee and missed virtually his entire senior-night game, and the Crimson Bears, minus their captain, went on to lose their lone playoff game the next week on a fluke play in the final seconds against Chugiak.
Perkins still was named conference Defensive Player of the Year at linebacker and First Team All-Conference at fullback, as well as All-State.
He had dreams of playing big-time college football and after tearing his ACL, Perkins still impressed enough to earn a walk-on spot at the University of Missouri. But just a few days into practice he re-injured his knee, re-tearing the ACL and meniscus while spraining the MCL.
Ever the optimist, Perkins remains upbeat and focused on getting back.
"It was just an unlucky break. It got caught up and twisted up under me and there was nothing I could do about it," he said. "I was 100 percent back in it and it just tore again, but I was feeling great beforehand."
Perkins was a good candidate for a redshirt this season, and that's now a certainty. He will have surgery again in the next couple of weeks, and he's bound and determined - all over again - to make it back on the field.
"It's not the same as last time, but it's not any easier," Perkins said of facing another grueling rehab stint. "It's tough because I'd rather be playing football right now but I can't. It happens. I'll rehab on it really hard and they have an amazing program down here, so I really think I'll be up and running as soon as I can."
Now that he knows he won't be playing this year, Perkins said his plan is to bulk up and hit the books. He is an outstanding student with a civil engineering degree in his future, and he said he's enjoyed his time in his new home away from home in Columbia, Mo.
"I'm on the engineering path and taking 14 hours," he said. "It's really nice, but it's a big climate change. No mountains or ocean, but it's really nice down here. It's like a second home."