Former Warrior Football Club member Jeff Ortiz said for the “boys” from P.S. 106, football was a fond memory largely created by beloved Warrior’s Football Club coach Jerry Demers. Demers, who worked his way up through the Parks and Recreation Department, according to Ortiz, has been the coach and coordinator for the Warriors Football Club for the past 50 years.
Ortiz, who played for Demers from 1966 through 1970 said he and two of his former teammates, Joe Regina and Mike Pisanello, decided to organize a reunion to honor and thank Demers for his dedication and service to the youth of the community.
“On April 21, there will be a P.S. 106 and Warriors 45-year reunion honoring Jerry Demers at Westchester Manor,” Ortiz said. “This event started when Mike and I came up with the idea of contacting all of our old friends and teammates to honor Jay for giving us the greatest childhood a kid could ever dream of having. Our fellow Warrior, Joe, immediately joined us in this effort.”
Ortiz said Demers not only coordinated football for the boys at P.S. 106, but also hockey, basketball, punch ball, soccer, whiffle ball, and even trivia games when it rained.
“He organized all types of sports back then,” he said. “ We had a softball team and hockey leagues; he always had us playing sports all of the time, keeping us out of trouble.”
One of Ortiz’s favorite memories of playing for Demers, he said, was winning the 1966 City Championship for touch tackle as a Warrior.
“We had a touch tackle team when I was about 15 years old and Jerry was the coach,” Ortiz said. “He would take us to his house and show us films. It was almost like going to school, the way we studied [football] plays. That team went onto win the city championship, un-scored upon. We even beat Staten Island and Central Park.”
Ortiz said there will be people from all over the country attending the event.
“Around 1971, was when people started to lose touch, with going away to college and moving to other states,” he said. “And recently, a group of us decided to try to get in contact with everyone to bring everyone back together for a reunion. We have people coming from all over the country, so that will be a little surprise for Jerry.”
Ortiz said in honoring Jay, the former players will be showing their love and affection to the man who influenced all of their lives.
“In this joyous task of contacting all my old friends there is one common thing that I have discovered,” Ortiz said. “And that is, that most of us have been involved in coaching our kid’s as well as other kid’s in sports. I believe that is what Jay taught each and every one of us, the gift of giving back and caring for our youth.”