On Saturday the Peekskill City School District’s Athletic Department hosted Football Alumni Day and held a special ceremony to retire the jerseys of former Peekskill players, Billy Thomas and Tre Johnson III, both of whom went on to play for the NFL after their time at Peekskill. Thomas and Johnson are the second and third Peekskill High School football players to have their jerseys retired.
Thomas, who graduated from Peekskill in 1968, played at Boston College before going on to play for the Dallas Cowboys and the Kansas City Chiefs, while Johnson, who graduated from Peekskill in 1989, played at Temple College before going on to play for the Washington Redskins.
The Alumni Day events began with a breakfast for former players, which was followed by a Modified Football game against Briarcliff, and then a Varsity Football game against Walter Panas at Torpy Field.
During the half-time portion of the Peekskill vs. Panas game, the Peekskill High School band performed as Thomas and Johnson were led to center field by Peekskill cheerleaders. The ceremony included a surprise visit from Johnson’s family, as well as over 100 alumni from the class of 1973. As the day’s honorees were presented with their retired jerseys at midfield, all of the alumni in attendance made their way onto the field to become part of the celebration, each carrying placards signifying the elementary school they had attended in Peekskill. As Thomas and Johnson were presented with their jerseys, alumni showered the players in handfuls of confetti.
“It’s always great to come back to Peekskill,” said Thomas. “It’s especially great for me to be here today and to have this honor that Louie Panzanaro and the School Board have decided to bestow upon myself and Tre Johnson. To become the second and third players from Peekskill High School football to have our jerseys retired is humbling, and I can’t tell you how proud I am to represent Peekskill in my travels. It all started right here.”
After the ceremony Thomas and Johnson spent time posing for photos and autographing footballs for old friends and fans. A reception in downtown Peekskill followed the ceremony.
“The Alumni Day event was a huge success,” said Peekskill’s Athletic Director, Louis Panzanaro. “The bulk of the alumni came from the Class of 1973, but they were also joined by many others. Tim Cothern, of the Class of ’73, did a great job spearheading the event. All the alumni vowed that the Saturday before Columbus Day would become our annual Alumni Day. Billy and Tre' loved it and the reception for them that followed at the Quiet Man was even better.”