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Suiting up one last time; Hounds pay tribute to fallen teammate

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, July 23, 2014

For one last time, Isaac Davis put on his Slidell Greyhounds basketball uniform Tuesday morning.

“I never thought I’d wear the uniform again,” said the 2014 graduate. “It was a good feeling putting it on again – but knowing it was for a funeral ate me up inside.

“It means a lot to have all my teammates here as he goes away.”

Back Together

BACK TOGETHER – Slidell basketball players gather one last time to pay their respects to fallen teammate Colton Perkins at his funeral Tuesday at Bolivar Baptist Church. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The Greyhounds, who shared so many victories and good times with each other last spring, came together in full uniform to celebrate the life of their fallen teammate, Colton Perkins.

The 17-year-old 2014 Slidell High School graduate died in an accident Friday morning on Farm Road 455 outside of Bolivar. More than 500 family members, friends and community members packed Bolivar Baptist Church Tuesday for over two hours to mourn his passing. Many were clad in pink, Perkins’ favorite color.

PAYING HIS RESPECTS – Trent Garrett took emergency leave from his post at Virginia Beach with the U.S. Navy to attend the funeral of his friend and former teammate Colton Perkins. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“He would be very impressed to see his team do this for him,” said Perkins’ cousin Mitchell Burkham. “He was pretty popular.

“He was more of a big brother to me. I didn’t want him to go. I loved him so much.”

The entire Slidell basketball team served as pallbearers, including brother Levi, who also sat during the service with the team.

Slidell basketball coach and athletic director Todd McCormick passed out the uniforms to his players. He also gave the Perkins’ family Colton’s jersey for him to be buried in.

“You could tell with the seniors when we were passing them out, they never thought they’d don those jerseys again,” McCormick said. “It was emotional.”

At a visitation Monday, Slidell players presented the family with a signed basketball. The team also came together once last time in a huddle. As they recalled, it was usually Perkins in the center of the huddle leading the chants. At the request of Perkins’ mother Autumn, Khristian Talamantes filled that role.

“It was hard to do, but it was an honor,” Talamantes said. “He always told us to go out and give our best. He was the one to get everyone riled up. He was definitely the most spirited.

“This shows how much the team meant to everyone, that we all wanted to suit up one last time with him.”

Along with the spirit and leadership he brought to the court, the three-year starter was a skilled and versatile player. He averaged 13.2 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Class A Region III quarterfinalists. He had 27 points and 13 boards in the Greyhounds’ bi-district win over Dodd City. At the end of the season, he earned first-time selections on the 21-A and All-Wise County teams.

But his teammates and friends recalled their times off the floor together. Even while grieving, they couldn’t help but swap stories about Perkins.

“He was really fun. One of the funniest people I’ve met,” said point guard Tyler Maynard. “Every time he’d go to my house, he’d go to the fridge. He ate more than anyone I met.”

A former teammate and close friend, Trent Garrett, made an extraordinary effort to get back one last time to see Perkins. Stationed in Virginia Beach in the U.S. Navy, Garrett took emergency leave to attend the funeral.

“You usually are only allowed emergency leave for family. To me, he was family. He was no doubt the best friend I’ve ever known,” Garrett explained.

“One word to describe him: flawless. He’d walk in a room and brighten it with his smile. He was flawless.”

As Bolivar Baptist’s Rev. Dickie Amyx pointed out during the service, Perkins touched more people with his actions and smile than he ever knew.

“From the elderly to the young ones and everyone in between, he touched their lives,” Amyx said.

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