It was while looking for equipment in the Greenport High School building when Bobby Heaney came across a treasure trove of local history: old Greenport football films that were kept in plastic bags.
“We just tried to save anything we could,” Heaney said. “We’re still looking for films.”
Those films, some dating back to the 1950s, will be the centerpiece Saturday when former Greenport High School football players gather for a viewing of them at Skipper’s Restaurant in Greenport.
Anyone who played for the Porters from 1949 through 1978 is invited to a viewing party of the old films, which have been transferred onto nine DVDs, totaling about four hours worth of viewing.
“We put all the tapes on DVDs, all the tapes we could find, to relive the glory years, I guess,” said Heaney, the owner of Skipper’s who was an All-Long Island guard and captain for the Porters before graduating in 1967.
Heaney said the idea for the event stems from a desire of a former Greenport player, Billy Fuccillo, who wanted to watch old Greenport films. That got the ball rolling.
“It’s a long time coming,” said Heaney.
The DVDs will be shown on a 65-inch television screen and other sets, with much discussion, undoubtedly, about what players and which Greenport teams were the best.
Heaney said the event, which will start at 5 p.m., is “getting bigger and bigger and bigger.” At least 70 people are expected to attend and possibly as many as 300. News of the viewing was circulated by word of mouth. With the exception of a few cheerleaders, Heaney said, the event is strictly off limits to women.
Heaney said he believes all the films are in black and white. Watching them, he was struck by Greenport’s passing attack in the days before the pass-happy American Football League was created.
That was one of the innovations inspired by Dorrie Jackson, the late, legendary coach who ran the Porters from 1951 to 1978. His career record was 148-44-7 (.744).
Jackson, who the Greenport High School football field is named after, is a big reason why the former Porters will be gathering for what sounds like a football version of a class reunion.
“He was a mastermind,” said Heaney, who called Jackson a “sheer joy to play for.”