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.
Cedric Johnson, ’95
Activities: Football and basketball.
Position: Receiver, corner, defensive back.
Favorite memory: “We played South Oak Cliff. I became a football hero that night. They tried to bump and run me the whole game, and I ended up with four touchdowns in the first half. By the second half, coach took me out of the game and said, ‘We need to save you for next week when we’re playing Hillcrest.’ There were a lot of college recruiters there, and I believe that game solidified me making All-State as a receiver.”
Favorite teacher: Coach Gentry. “He had a kind heart. He understood me as a person. Anything that I needed — tutoring, someone to talk to — he was always there.”
Job: Operates his own business, Kleentech2, delivering paper products to bars and hotels.
Family: Lives in Plano and has an 8-year-old daughter, Cyahna. “She loves her daddy, and her daddy loves her.”
After high school: Recruited by the University of Tennessee, Oregon State, Washington State and the University of Southern California. He played corner and defensive back at Hofstra University. Homesickness took hold, and he switched to Texas A&M in Gainesville, where he fielded nine interceptions his senior year and was named All-American. He then played Arena Football with the Chicago Rush.
How he stays in shape: “I work out every day. For the last half-year, I have been running, working out at the Fitness Connection. Your health is your wealth.”
What it was like to play football again: “It was fun for everybody to come back and indulge.”
Advice he’d give to his younger self: “Never give up. Stay motivated, ask God to guide you in the right direction. Keep the faith.”
How he’s changed the most since high school: “I’m really the same person. I’ve made a little money, but money doesn’t justify your character. A lot of people told me I should have ended up in comedy because I’m a jokester.”
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