CLYDE SMITH, BACK/PUNTER, 1938-41, ALL BENSON FIELD TEAM
Clyde was an outstanding football, basketball, and softball player for the Decatur Red Raiders during the years 1938-1941. He was the fifth of six Smith brothers that played on the Decatur football team. Brothers Charlie, Jimmy, Ed, and Lester preceded him, and Liza followed him. There was a Smith playing on the Red Raider teams for 13 consecutive years, 1929-1942, Coach “Shorty” Ogle states.
From 1938 until his final game in 1941, Clyde played in 28 football games. He was a starting right half on the teams of 1939-40-41 which compiled a record of 24 wins and 3 losses. His most recognized was in his blocking and kicking. In the 1939 Huntsville game, he got off a 68 yard kick while standing on his own goal line (Smith weighed 165 pounds and was 5 feet 10 inches tall). Coach Ogle stated that the kick saved the victory for the Red Raiders.
Clyde said he remembers the 1940 Jones Valley game which Decatur won 33-0. Near the end of the game, Clyde made a touchdown saving tackle in the 20 yard line after a 50 yard run. The next play, Clyde intercepted a pass on the 20 yard line and ran it back 80 yards for a touchdown. During the 80 yard return Clyde said he never missed a Benson Field pot hole. Coach smiled when Clyde returned to the bench. Clyde also remembers the1941 Cullman game. He was blocking for Sonny Todd and he “pancaked” the right end who told Clyde while flat on his back, “Ya’ll got the best football team I’ve ever seen.”
His fondest memory is Coach shaking his hand and expressing his appreciation for his military service after returning home safely after three years of military duty, 1942-1945, in North Africa and Italy.
Clyde never misses a Shorty’s Boys meeting. He is one of the oldest members present. He is a perfect example for each one of Shorty’s Boys. Ollie Street and T.M. Jones attend regularly and are near his graduating class. Other members, Fred Trimble, Rex Rankin, and Liza Smith who played during his time have become inactive members due to various health reasons. The membership ranges from 1938 to the year 1963, a span of 26 years.