Barnsdall’s Perrier headed to Southwestern College, taking his smile and his force with him

Mike Tupa Pawhuska

Cash Perrier knew how to throw his weight around for the Barnsdall High School football team.

The three-year starting pit titan helped muscle the program to a historic height during an unforgettable 2019 campaign.

And, at 6-foot-4, 295 pounds — as he was listed on an online team roster — Perrier brought crushing force to the Panthers’ attack.

The force is next headed to Southwestern (Kan.) College of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

“I was sending a lot of emails to a lot of schools,” Perrier explained during a phone interview. “I was sending my name and field.”

One of his packages got into the hands of the area Southwestern College recruiter, Coach Strong.

During his visit to Winfield, Kan., “I fell in love with it up there,” Perrier said.

His final decision narrowed down to Southwestern and Panhandle State.

“It was a tough choice,” Perrier explained. “One day while I was in school at lunch I called Coach Strong and committed.”

Southwestern is bringing him on-board as an offensive lineman, he added.

Perrier turned out to be an unexpected gift that fell into the Barnsdall Panthers program — and was part of a platinum-quality platoon of offensive linemen all in the Class of 2020.

At least two of them — Perrier and Matthew Lucas (6-0, 230) — have earned opportunities to play in college.

Perrier appeared as a junior high player to be destined to play for Pawhuska High. But, he transferred to Barnsdall and became a starter his sophomore year.

During Cash Perrier’s three years in the lineup, the Panthers amassed a 20-14 record and advanced twice to the playoffs.

His senior season (2019) was something special — a 7-3 regular season record and postseason march to the Class A quarterfinals.

“We were all bought in,” Perrier said about the difference between a 4-6 mark in 2018 and a 9-4 record in 2019. In 2018, the Panthers suffered some tough losses. “This year we had no problems. Everybody bought in and wanted to be there. We had good chemistry.”

And, an astounding win.

Going into the campaign, it had been 30 years since Barnsdall had beaten Hominy.

But, on Sept. 20, 2019, the Panthers mounted a tremendous second-half comeback — capped by Braden Kelley’s winning touchdown catch at the end — to beat the Bucks, 36-33. The Panthers did it in front of a home crowd.

On the winning play, Perrier — who lined up at right tackle — recalled that, “I was praying that somebody would catch that ball and that everybody would hold their blocks so Joe (Cole) could throw it. I couldn’t believe it when he (Kelley) caught it.”

Perrier feasted on great pride for three seasons in his performance at right tackle.

He saw his main duty as “just protecting Joe. I really loved doing that, to be like his bodyguard. If I messed up he could be hurt or hit.”

He also lined up at defensive end — where he excelled in stalking the quarterback.

“I love sacks,” he said. “Against Woodland, I had some sacks. Against Pawhuska, I had some sacks.”

Perrier especially enjoyed playing Pawhuska because of all the friendships he had with Huskies’ players.

“I loved the Pawhuska game,” he said. “I got to (quarterback) Bryce Drummond a couple of times. Oh yeah, he can run. He’s a powerful dude. … He’s a great athlete.” Drummond, who has a year of high school ball left, has committed to the North Texas Mean Green.

Perrier leaves Barnsdall as a proud Panther.

“Our chemistry was like a brotherhood that made me proud and made we want to practice and play hard every day,” he explained.

He also praised the devotion of the Barnsdall community in supporting the football team, including showing up en masse at faraway road games.

“It was fun to play in front of them,” he said. “They’re very energetic. They loved watching us.”

An unusual aspect — and unique test — this past season was playing with a roster about half its normal size.

“That was shocking to me,” Perrier said. “We usually had 40 guys and this year (2019) we had 23 or so. To do as good as we did showed you that everybody was better conditioned than the past year. A lot of us had to start both ways and we needed to be ready.”

Even though Perrier is leaving Barnsdall behind, he’s not bidding good-bye to two of his fellow Panther warriors.

Both Cole and Kelley have signed letters of intent to also play at Southwestern.

“That’s awesome,” Perrier said. “My sophomore year we were talking one day and saying it would be awesome if we could play together in college. The pieces just feel together and it worked out.”

In addition, Lucas signed with Friends (Kan.) University, which is Southwestern’s most-intense rival.

As he contemplates the future, Perrier said he hopes his Barnsdall coaches — including head skipper Kylee Sweeney — remember him as a leader in the locker room and “on the field, trying to keep everybody’s heads up and having high hopes,” he explained. “I messed around quite a bit, joking around and trying to keep everybody smiling. I have a smile on my face every day and I want others to have one.”