Winning. It is, as Vince Lombardi once said, “the only thing. It is a habit to be learned, preserved, and constantly improved upon. These former Lion quarterbacks learned this, and learned it will. They each left their mark in the ETSU/A&M-Commerce record books, then took those lessons far beyond Commerce, and into the professional ranks.
Bounds, the playmaker, who will always be a part of the endless debate in the coffee shops and tailgates in and around Commerce, America, as to who was the greatest Lion QB of them all. Was it Wilson? Was it Perez? Was it Bounds? Depends on who you ask. It’s a great question, and raises this issue. The talent runs deep.
Dolezel, the steady hand, did nothing but win in Commerce. Then he took his talents and became a living legend in the indoor game, winning titles as both a player and coach. Dolezel is sometimes overlooked in the talent debate, which is a mistake. He finds a way to get the job done, no matter the role.
Perez, the self made superstar, who literally learned the position watching YouTube. And learn, he did. He saved the best for last in 2017, winning the Harlon Hill Trophy as the best player in the country in Division 2. With that came something that only Perez and Will Cureton have that no other Lion quarterback has….a national championship ring.
Their careers may have ended in Commerce, but the winning did not. Dolezel won an Arena League championship as a player in 2001, and back to back titles in 2016 and 2017 as the head coach of the Philadelphia Soul, and was ranked at the 8th greatest player in Arena League history.
Bounds went on to have an outstanding four year professional career in the Arena and Canadian leagues, winning 22 games as a starter. He was one of those players that just had an aura about him that let you know he was a winner. He would find a way to beat you.
Perez looked to be on the fast track to a professional career. He has spent time with the Rams, Lions, and Eagles, as well as stints with Birmingham in the AAF, where he beat out a former starter from the University of Alabama, and had the Birmingham Iron in position to make a deep playoff run before the AAF season was suspended. Perez then took his talents to the XFL, where he beat out another former starter from a D1 powerhouse, this time Penn State, and again had the New York Guardians in position to make a title run before the XFL folded.
Then came this past weekend. Dolezel and Bounds have teamed up to lead the Frisco Fighters into the 2021 season of the Indoor Football League. The motto is “50 Yards of Fury”, and it is the truth. Just because the field is half the size doesn’t mean the players are, or that they have half the talent. Size, speed, and physical play are at an extremely high level. After a 40-33 win in Massachusetts last night, the Fighters are currently unbeaten at 4-0, and are at the top of the power rankings of the IFL. With a solid ownership group and knowledgeable GM with some star power of his own in Drew Pearson, the Fighters are a solid football team, primed to make a run at a title. Brian and I here at The Wire strongly recommend that if you have the opportunity, take the drive over to Comerica Center and take in a game. You’ll be glad you did.
Luis Perez has landed in The Spring League, a solid, well run, developmental league for players, who like Perez, just have never seemed to get the right break to show what they could do. Like he has everywhere he’s been, Luis grabbed the opportunity by the horns, and hasn’t looked back. Despite playing only the first half in Head Coach Kevin Gilbride’s system, Perez just keeps up great decision making that we’ve all come to know, with the precise accuracy of a surgeon. And he keeps winning. In large part, due to Perez’s leadership, his team, the Jousters, are in the championship game of The Spring League, the Mega Bowl, to be played next Saturday afternoon at Rice Stadium in Houston.
They may no longer wear the blue and gold, and their roles may have changed, but a few things remain the same. They are all LIONS. Winning is in their blood, and is their business.
And business is good.