Decatur man to be inducted into Morgan County Hall of Fame - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bobby's Bama

Decatur man to be inducted into Morgan County Hall of Fame

Morgan County Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Porter's journey with the Rough Riders began in 1959.  (Source: WAFF) Morgan County Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Porter's journey with the Rough Riders began in 1959.  (Source: WAFF)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Once upon a time, Decatur had a semi-professional football team. They were called the Rough Riders and their last game was in 1966.

The segregated team never made the money other teams did and none of them are in the Morgan County Hall of Fame. But that's about to change.

Morgan County Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Porter's journey with the Rough Riders began in 1959.  

The ragtag team was put together to play what was thought to be a "superior", well practiced, Huntsville team Thanksgiving day. The new squad only practiced twice before winning that game. 

"And the first three years we played we wasn't scored on," said Porter.

Many of them played with or against each other in high school. Even though they played against each other in high school, they still formed an unbreakable bond.

That bond included players from Athens, Tuscumbia, the tri-cities and more. They won 66 out of the 68 games that they played.

"We played 6 years and got $3," said Porter.  

What a lot of people may not realize is when these guys were playing football for the Rough Riders, they and their teammates would also change sports in the spring.  

They played baseball for the local Nationals.

"Playing sports, you had to be disciplined to play sports. There's no way around it, but like now you got too many children having children," added Porter. "Back then we said yes sir, no sir to any and everybody, now they say it's not in their vocabulary."

"I know we had some of the best athletes cause like my brother, Leo, he played baseball, football, basketball, played professional baseball with the Annapolis Clowns," said Porter.

Leo Gray has been Porter's best buddy, practically from the womb.  He was  2 years behind Porter in school.

"He was more like a brother to me, you know.," said Gray. "I was raised by my grandmother and so when I met him, it was a bond and it's still a bond."

Now, into their 80's that bond is even stronger.

"I knew he had my back and I had his. We were brothers and I was kind of a high tempered lad. Sometimes I would go off and I would hear one voice, Leo. It would be Leo and he would say 'Joe' and I would shut up," said Gray.

Gray admitted Porter is a role model and he will be there when Porter is inducted into the Morgan County Hall of fame.  

"You better believe I am. I'll be there on time. I'll be there before time," explained Gray. "He deserves it. He really does. Joe and I have always been the smallest and the toughest."

Porter is 5'6" and Gray is 5'10". What they lacked in size they made up with heart, determination, and skill.

"At my size, I would be put on the back burner. They wouldn't even consider me playing, but back then, if you could play you got a uniform," said Porter.

Porter will rise above many men to take his place in an exclusive athletic fraternity.

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