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By Loren Kopff
@LorenKopff on Twitter
It only took one season of playing in the National Football League, but Josh Perkins and Dwayne Washington are already stars in more ways than one. They were each given a Mayor’s Proclamation Award at the Mar. 9 city council meeting for their outstanding accomplishments and for being recognized as a Cerritos hometown hero.
“It’s always nice just to come back home, to where you grew up,” Washington said. “To be rewarded for just being part of the city of Cerritos is obviously a great thing.”
“It means a lot,” Perkins said. “I’ve been here my whole life and to be recognized by the city is something I’ve been working for my whole life is the best.”
Washington, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round, finished his rookie season as the third leading rusher with 265 yards on 90 carries and one touchdown. The top three rushers were separated by 92 yards. Washington also caught 10 passes for 62 yards and returned two kickoffs for 46 yards.
He says playing in the NFL was a childhood dream and the best part of the 2016 season was just being on the field. Washington will remain in Southern California for the next month doing hard core training.
Perkins, a free agent rookie for the Super Bowl LI runner-up Atlanta Falcons, caught three passes for 42 yards and caught a touchdown late in the season against the Carolina Panthers. Although he didn’t catch a pass in the postseason, Perkins says playing in the NFL is better than what he had dreamed of growing up.
“It was better for me, being able to go to the Super Bowl in my rookie year is something that I’ll be able to say I have for my whole life,” Perkins said. “People have been playing for 15-20 years and haven’t been able to make it to the Super Bowl. For me to make it there in my first year is just a dream come true and a blessing.”
Perkins said his rookie season was different because he sat out for the first half and got to look around and learned how to be a professional, from watching what goes on during the pregame warm-ups to other routines and getting ready for the games. He said by doing all of that made him a better player the remainder of the season.
The Suburban League season begins next week and already John Glenn High is making some noise with the fast start it is off to. While the Eagles have their bye the first week of league action, their pitching is paving the way to a 7-1 start. The Eagles have allowed eight runs in their seven victories with four shutouts. Glenn will face Birmingham High on Monday in the Babe Herman Tournament and Redlands High the next day in the same tournament.
Artesia High has stumbled to a 1-5 start following an 801 setback to St. Anthony High this past Wednesday. The Pioneers will host Calvary Chapel Downey High today before welcoming in Cerritos High on Wednesday in the front end of a home and home series.
Cerritos is 6-4 after falling to Chaffey High 3-1 this past Wednesday in the Rancho Cucamonga Tournament. The Dons will have two more games in the tournament before visiting Artesia.
Gahr High’s brutal non-league schedule is beginning to show as the Gladiators dropped to 2-5 after losing to J.W. North 6-4 last Friday. Gahr will host JSerra High on Wednesday.
Norwalk High is off to a surprising 4-1 start after the Lancers posted a 6-2 road win against El Rancho High this past Wednesday. The Lancers will be home to Mayfair High on Wednesday.
Valley Christian High was blasted by Village Christian High 12-2 this past Tuesday in the Olympic League opener for both teams. Valley Christian (5-4 overall) will host Whittier Christian tonight.
Artesia has not played since Mar. 9 but will have a 3-2 mark when it visits Glenn on Tuesday in the Suburban League opener for both teams. Glenn is 3-1 and will compete in the Santa Fe Tournament on Saturday.
Cerritos is competing in the Torrance Memorial Tournament and has a bye on Tuesday while the rest of the league begins their 12-game slate. The Lady Dons visit Bellflower High on Thursday for their league opener.
The hottest team in the area is Gahr, which improved to 8-0 following an 11-1 win against St. Paul High this past Tuesday. The Lady Gladiators, who will play a pair of games in the Northwood Tournament on Saturday, will be put to the test on Tuesday when they travel to Los Alamitos High. Gahr will also visit Pacifica High on Thursday.
Norwalk has struggled so far, winning three times in its first seven games, but got an 11-3 win at Calvary Chapel Downey this past Tuesday. The Lady Lancers will compete in the Santa Fe Tournament on Saturday before hosting Mayfair High on Tuesday.
Valley Christian was crushed by Ontario Christian High 17-1 this past Tuesday to drop to 3-4. The Lady Crusaders which hosted Paramount High on Mar. 16, will participate in the Santa Fe Tournament on Saturday before welcoming Oxford Academy on Tuesday.
Whitney High, which has a forfeit win and a forfeit loss already this season, has gone 2-7 through its first nine games. The Lady Wildcats visited Samueli Academy on Mar. 16 and will host the same team on Thursday.
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