GILBERT, Ariz. - In just three days, a football hometown hero will take the field in the NFC Championship, as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy will face off against the Detroit Lions for a trip to this year's Super Bowl.
For Purdy, it all started in the halls Perry High School in Gilbert. Right now, the energy for this year's NFC Championship football game at the school is pretty high.
"It's always Purdy time at Puma nation!" said PE coach Lerina Johnson. "He was grounded all the time, always talking about his faith. He was always talking about his family. Never wavered."
"When he was a student here, he worked just as hard in the classroom as he did on the field," said Perry High principal Heather Patterson.
That, Patterson said, helped propel Purdy to one of the biggest games in football.
"Everything that you see on social media, and everything that you see from the news clips and after games and before games and how he treats fans is how he treats his family, and how he treats his community," said Patterson.
Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass as he warms up prior to an NFL divisional round playoff football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers at Levis Stadium on January 20, 2024 in Santa Clara, California.
At Perry High, Purdy played football, and was involved with the faith group Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After going to Iowa State, he became Mr. Irrelevant – a nickname given to the last person selected in the NFL Draft – in 2022.
That, however, didn't intercept his goals, and the football player is now focused on a trip to the 2024 Super Bowl. The grit and work ethic of the 2018 graduate is still making an impact on the student body.
"It’s pretty cool to be a part of what he was a part of," said freshman Kael Snyder.
"I think it’s cool that we get the opportunity to live up to his expectations," said junior Diesel Taylor.
"It motivates our kids because someone from their school made it, and it’s going to motivate them to work harder, and hopefully they can get to that point as well," said Perry High's head football coach, Joseph Ortiz.
Ortiz said Purdy never forgets where he came from.
"He throws with our kids when he’s here," said Ortiz. "He’s a great person to be around, and a great ambassador for the [Perry High School] community."
"We are going to support [Purdy] all the time," said Johnson. "Anytime, all day, every day."