Callaway has a game changer on offense this season, and this time we’re not talking about Malik Heath.

John Perry III, the Chargers’ new offensive coordinator, is returning to Callaway after 10 years away and he’s giving this explosive offensive unit exactly what it needs: structure.

Perry was an assistant with the program from 2002-2007. After a few different coaching positions and a brief hiatus from the game of football he’s ready for what he said will be a “redemption year” for himself.

This return to the Chargers program is special for Perry, a class of 1998 Callaway graduate. He not only has close ties to the school but to head coach Darius Brown as well, alongside whom he coached during his early years with the program. It’s a homecoming for Perry, one he said he was ready for.

“I knew if I came back to the game it had to be for the right position,” Perry said. “Callaway is the right position. I get a second shot at something great. Anything less than a playoff bound year will be a let down. In my eyes with the caliber of players we have as well as coaches, being the best not only in the city but being talked about around the state is what we are working for.”

The stars seem to be aligning for this team and 2017 may be the year it all comes together. Callaway is moving back down a class from Class 6A to 5A. Both Brown and Perry believe that because of the competition the Chargers were exposed to last year in 6A, they are ready to compete with the likes of 5A powers in West Point and Laurel, among others.

“I think the fact that we competed in region 2-6A last year, we didn’t make the playoffs but we were in every game we played in,” Brown said. “We competed in a division that the eventual state champion came out of. We played against the No.1 player in the country and some other great players last year. That’s not to downplay 5A football — there are some great teams in 5A football. But we’re ready for them.”

The key to unlocking the success Brown and Perry are confident they will see in 2017 is the “three-headed monster”. The first head of this monster is 2018’s second ranked player in Mississippi, Malik Heath. The second is junior running back Lakenith Thompson, who rushed for nearly 2,000 yards in his sophomore season. Last but certainly not least is Tyrese Winford at quarterback, who Perry says is this offensive unit’s game changer. With these three on the field, Callaway can hit you from all angles.

“Normally when you approach a season, you have question marks in key areas,” Perry said. “You may have a receiver but you don’t have a quarterback. You have a running back but you don’t have the offensive line. When you take a look at film and look at the roster, you not only have those explosive players in key areas, but just about every area that is needed to have a productive season, we have those guys.”

The Chargers took the field for the first time this spring on Tuesday evening, with Ole Miss assistant Derrick Nix in attendance. After a nearly hour-and-a-half practice, Perry said he’s happy with the effort he saw and feels good about this team and his unit moving forward.

“Giving it a grade, I would say it was a good day,” Perry said. “We had guys moving around well and I’m optimistic about where we’re headed.”

Contact Annie Costabile at 601-961-7293 or acostabile@gannett.com. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.