It was the mid-’90s all over again when 60 middle-aged Longhorn football players took the field at Alfred J. Loos Stadium this past summer. The athletes ordered matching Nike jerseys and shorts for the occasion. Four cheerleaders chanted V-I-C-T-O-R-Y. Coach Chas Briscoe led the old boys onto the field, congratulating them on the men they had become.
The scene was out of a high school football playbook. “The guys played rough like they were still in high school, and they are so competitive,” says Angela Baird Arredondo, who was a W.T. White Longhorn cheerleader in 1994.
She balanced a fellow former cheerleader on her shoulders during the game.
“There were lots of tumbles, lots of falls, lots of tackles, and it was supposed to be flag football. I cannot believe no one got seriously injured.”
It was current W.T. White athletic director and coach Tony Johnson, along with alumnus Samori Brown, who proposed a “flag-football” reunion as a way to inspire Longhorns from their generation to support the school and its students. They plan to make it an annual event.
Meet some of the reunion-goers, what they were like in high school and how they live now.
Activities: Football and basketball.
Nickname: Pete Row.
Favorite teacher: Coach Briscoe. “He pushed me to be a better man in the classroom and a better player on the football field.”
Dream moment: During his senior year, he caught a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl at the District Championship against Hillcrest High School. “I’ll never forget it. We ended up losing 20 to 17, but catching a touchdown in the Cotton Bowl was cool.”
Job: Supervises juvenile probation officers.
Family: Lives in Grand Prairie with his wife, Monica, and children Kendall, 12, Jeremiah, 10, and Carter, 3.
After high school: Received a football scholarship to play receiver at Utah State University, where he majored in criminal justice.
How he stays in shape: “Running with the kids.”
What it was like to play football again after all these years: “Being around the guys and being back on our home turf were the most rewarding.”
Advice he’d give his younger self: “Work harder on your craft.”
The most surprising thing about the flag football reunion: “Everybody in all phases of life came back to one common goal and enjoyed each other, participating in a sport that we love.”
How he’s changed the most since high school: “My maturity. I chose this profession because it’s about changing lives. I’m all about reaching and inspiring our youth. Reach one, teach one.”
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