Zak Perroots carries the ball after a block by tackle Sam White in a 55-0 win over Nativity in September (Photo by Mike Maraya)

For four years, John Paul the Great running back Zak Perroots hasn’t stopped running.

He took his first hand off as a freshman, a small but promising up-and-comer in a backfield that already featured his brother Tyler, then a junior.

Last Saturday, in a backfield he now shares with younger brother Brandon, Perroots took and carried several handoffs for a total of 241 yards and five touchdowns in a 55-34 win over Trinity Episcopal. That performance pushed Perroots over 4,000 yards for his career, quantitative evidence of the qualitatively consistent leadership and relentless running he’s given the Wolves (6-2) throughout his high school career.

“Football has always been an outlet for me. Somewhere to just let all my emotions out,” Perroots said. “All four years, going through the failures and successes has been a real blessing to be a part of.”

Wolves’ Coach Jerry Sarchet is grateful he’s had Perroots in his backfield, too, and says that as Zak earned more and more carries, he’s shouldered a more prominent role on the team.

“He’s had the mantle of leadership since he was a sophomore,” Sarchet said. “It’s not that he talks a whole lot or yells loudly. It’s just by the way he does every drill and handles himself every day.”

At 5-8, 155 pounds, Perroots is small and lean as prolific rushers go. Sarchet says that while size has scared off some college coaches, it hasn’t stopped Perroots from carrying much bigger tacklers along with him as he’s fought for yard after yard in his career.

“There’s been a few runs through the years that have just been ‘Wow: he’s 155 pounds and dragging people along,'” Sarchet said. “I just keep trying to convey to college coaches that you can’t measure heart.”

Perroots, who says he’d “love to play in college if the opportunity presents itself,” credits his line for helping him reach the 4,000-yard milestone — with 883 of those yards coming this season — and says he’s never worried about running against bigger, bulkier players.

“I never worry about the size thing,” Perroots said. “If anything, it just adds fuel to the fire. When it comes to the field, size doesn’t matter to me.”

Sarchet says experiences like watching Zak and his brothers grow up through four years is “why he does what he does.” He also said that, like Zak, Tyler and Brandon would all be undeterred by a brick wall standing between them and their goal, though they’d all take slightly different approaches to getting around it.

“I was talking to their parents and I told them,’If you told your sons to get through a brick wall, Tyler, the oldest, would take a sledge hammer to it and just keep hammering away,'” Sarchet said. “That wall would be down in 20 days. Brandon, the youngest, he’d go off and find a stick of dynamite and blow it up. He’s more creative and analytical. Zak, he’d run at it again and again until he was through it.”

And, in some ways, that’s exactly what Zak has done, running through walls of Virginia high school linemen again and again, often finding his way through to the other side.

“To [have played these four years] with the guys that I’ve done it with, my brothers specifically, the coaches that I’ve done it with — it’s been a real amazing thing. I’m real blessed to have been a part of it,” Perroots said. “It’s been a blessing to play with my brothers…that’s been a real awesome thing.”


The number of yards for which another Virginia independent private school — Paul VI — rushed in a 44-21 win over Bishop Ireton last week.


— Einstein running back Khalil Wilson has refocused in the classroom, and that’s bad news for opposing defenses.

— Some notes from the weekend in D.C.-area private school football, including how St. John’s improved its WCAC position by edging out a win over McNamara.

— In hoops, Paul VI basketball standout Franklin Howard visited Syracuse on an unofficial visit this weekend.

— In case you missed it: DeMatha rallied past Gonzaga in a showdown of WCAC powerhouses.

— Check out who made this week’s football top 20, and who the coaches say should be at the top.

— Always a must-see: this week’s All-Met watch.


Decision day is nearing for Woodbridge’s Da’Shawn Hand. Make sure you’re caught up with the latest episode of First and 17:

Da'Shawn Hand and the Vikings come together as a team as Woodbridge faces Freedom-Woodbridge in a critical game to stay in contention for the playoffs. (Brad Horn and Jayne Orenstein/The Washington Post)