RUPERT — After leading the Minico High School football team to its first title game appearance in program history, John Perrigot will follow in his father’s footsteps as a collegiate quarterback.
On Tuesday, Perrigot held a brief ceremony in the Minico foyer as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play at University of Montana Western.
Perrigot, the 2017 Great Basin Conference offensive player of the year, received interest from the Bulldogs over the past year, including three home visits by the football staff as well as two trips to the UMW campus in Dillon, Mont.
John said the staff, some of whom came to watch him at the 4A state title game at Holt Arena in November, were a big part of his decision, but also he liked that UMW and Dillon, an area of similar size to Rupert, “felt like home.”
“Just the people, the campus, all of it,” he said. “I’ve never been a big city kid, so it felt comfortable.”
He also liked the Frontier Conference, which he said fits well with his wish for a competitive field of opponents.
“That conference is a great conference to play football in,” he said. “It’s tough football.”
John’s dad, Tim Perrigot, the longtime Minico head coach who recently accepted a job as the superintendent of the Wendell School District, said he knew some of the staff personally and respected them, including head coach Ryan Nourse.
“He’s come down to speak at our District 4 coaching clinic,” Tim said. “He’s a good coach and runs a good program.”
In an announcement of this year’s signees on the UMW football page, Nourse said of John is an “athletic quarterback” and “a competitor (who) will bring a fire to a talented quarterback group at Western.”
Tim said his son’s accomplishments came with consistent effort throughout his years in youth and varsity football. As a former collegiate quarterback himself at Western State Colorado University, Tim said he knew what it took to reach the collegiate level, and that John put in the level of preparation to do so.
“Not many people realize the amount of time and effort you have to put in to become a college quarterback,” Tim said. “You spend so much time doing drills, morning prep, in the weight room to get here.”
Not only is UMW close enough for John’s family and friends to visit — a drive of less than four hours from Rupert — but it’s also been home to a lineage of Minico football alumni, including current Minico assistant coach Gerriuh Nay, who played safety for the Bulldogs nearly a decade ago.
“I talked with (Nay) a lot about it,” John said. “He told me about the community and school, and I think he played a role in (the decision).”
Whether he plays in his first game or not, John will likely have a lot of hometown connections in the crowd at his debut as a Bulldog: an away game at Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
That’s where his sister, Katie, attends college, and it’s the town where one of his hometown heroes, Dane Broadhead, a former Minico and Carroll quarterback, lives.
For the quarterback who will always be able to say he led Minico to its first state title game, John couldn’t imagine a better way to move on to the next point in his athletic career.
“Going off to college with all that we accomplished, it’s pretty amazing,” he said. “Especially since I got to do it all with my dad.”