Family time — for the Cagle’s — in the fall is well-spent underneath the Friday Night Lights.
For the past 21 years, Perry Cagle has molded young men into champions on and off the field as the ninth grade head football coach at Claremore High School.
One Zebra, in particular, that Perry Cagle holds to a higher standard is his youngest son, Tyler, who will be among 16 seniors on Friday night playing their last regular-season home football game against Grove.
“It’s going to be pretty emotional for both me and my wife, Dodie, because Tyler is our last one,” Perry said. “She will probably take it harder than I will, but we’re both proud of him and the way he represents Claremore.”
Having grown up on the sidelines in Barnsdall, Locust Grove and Claremore, Tyler Cagle’s love for the game of football flourished under the watchful eye of his first ‘coach’ and supportive father.
“It’s pretty cool being a coach’s kid,” Tyler said. “I knew early on that I wanted to be a coach — whether it was football or baseball — and who better to have as a role model than my dad.”
To most Zebra football players, Perry Cagle is known as ‘Coach’. But, to Claremore’s senior linebacker, Tyler, he’s Dad.
All the hours of playing catch in the backyard or taking batting practice in the cages are treasured memories that Tyler holds deep in his heart.
“He and Mom (Dodie) never miss a game,” Tyler said. “They are the best parents and fans to not only myself, but my brother Kyle and sister Kayla.”
Perry added that his wife, Dodie, is the glue that holds the Cagle family together for 365 days a year.
“Dodie’s been there from the word ‘Go’,” Perry said. “She’s hardly ever missed a game in the 26 years that I’ve been a football coach.”
On the football field, Perry has taught many valuable lessons to Tyler.
“Dad taught me to be respectful, be a leader and always give my best,” Tyler said.
Perry added that raising Tyler over the past 18 years has been a wonderful experience.
“He’s smart, makes good decisions and has been a blessing to this family,” Perry said. “All three of our kids have never given us any trouble and we’re proud of their accomplishments.”
Tyler, though, hopes to add another accomplishment to his athletic resume in the coming weeks as a leader on the 2012 Class 5A Playoff Bound Claremore Zebra football team.
“The seniors are thankful that Friday is not our last game on Lantow Field,” Tyler said.
“This whole season has been pretty exciting. We’re hoping we can go all the way.”
Perry said the key to this team is they never quit.
“If fans want to see great high school football, they need to come see Claremore,” Perry added. “It’s an experience that Dodie and I have enjoyed the past 21 years as proud Zebra fans.”