Male Area Athlete of Week: Flyers get 1st win off Perry’s foot

Riley Perry.jpg
Riley Perry.

The Little Falls Flyers got their first win of 2020 thanks to Riley Perry’s late game heroics.

The junior forward scored the game-winning goal against St. John’s Prep Tuesday, Sept. 1, chipping the ball over the goalkeeper’s head.

“It was me against another defender,” Perry said. “I fought him off and chip the goal and it went in. It definitely felt good that’s for sure. I was excited and pumped.”

Perry said he saw the goalkeeper was playing too far up, which allowed him enough room to shoot the ball over his head for the goal.

Perry’s aggressiveness and quickness help him as one of the main scoring threats for the Flyers this season.


“He has an immeasurable amount of tenacity,” Flyers head coach Christopher Backhaus said. “He is one of those guys that just never gives up. He digs deep and is one of those guys that brings an edge to compete.”

Backhaus noted Perry is an overall quiet guy, but with a fiery competitiveness that helps him be a threat on the field.

The game against St. John’s Prep came with great anticipation after the uncertainty surrounding fall sports due to COVID-19.

“It felt very good (to play) with all that’s been going on,” Perry said. “Just the fact that we even get a chance to play, and get the first win on top of it. It was good. Just want to keep pushing forward. Keep it up. Don’t get too above our heads.”

Backhaus said the win and the goal by Perry gave the rest of the team a lot of confidence.

“These guys this season have battled hard,” Backhaus said. “They have really dug deep and held their heads high.”

Perry is someone Backhaus expects to be one of the Flyers top scorers in 2020.

“He has really developed a presence,” Backhaus said. “Last season, he would tend to get lost in where he would find himself on the field. He would get lost in the midst of the defensive line. But this year, he goes out and defenders need to account for him.”


Backhaus is in his first season being the head coach of Little Falls boys soccer. He replaced long time head coach Julie Bell, who was an assistant for last season.

With the coaching switch, came a changing of offensive philosophy which Backhaus thinks helps Perry use his aggressiveness to his advantage.

“We are running a little bit of a different offensive scheme this year,” Backhaus said. “I’ve been working with Riley specifically in getting him on board with that. He has been very receptive to his role up top as a striker as we move into a more up tempo, faster game.”

Moving forward, Backhaus hopes Perry can be one of the top goal scorers on the team this year and next.

“He has developed his shot very well over the course of last season,” Backhaus said. “Consistently he is putting balls on frame this year and he is really working on the philosophy we have for Flyers soccer this year.”

Other notable performances:
Soccer: Trey Ogren, Lake Region, scored a hat trick in a 9-0 win over Chisago Lakes.
Jake Borders, Lake Region, tallied a goal and an assist in a 2-1 win over Willmar Christian.
Alex Loukinen, Little Falls, scored a goal in a 2-1 win over St. John’s Prep.
Cross-Country: Jesse Clausen, Pequot Lakes, won the Detroit Lakes invite in 18:02.5.
Emmet Anderson, Staples-Motley, won the Wadena invite in 16:15.4.

Riley Perry

Year: Junior

School: Little Falls

Sport: Soccer


Position: Forward

Highlights: Scored the game-winning in a 2-1 win over St. John’s Prep.

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