PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - While the Who Dat Nation continues to laissez le bon temps roule, Port Allen High is planning to celebrate one Saint-sational player. In high school, Tracy Porter was known for two sports: track and basketball. Some of the coaches say it took some teaching in and out of the classroom to get him on the gridiron.
Coach John Williams says if it weren't for the coaches convincing Porter to pick up the pigskin, his big comeback in Sunday night's game may not have happened. But one old teacher says based on what he saw, Porter may need to remember what he taught him: there's always room for improvement.
In the final seconds of regulation play, the Vikings drive for a game winning touchdown was stopped by Tracy Porter's interception. It was a moment that had every Saints fan sitting on the edge of their seats. The move proved the coaches at Port Allen hadn't put Porter on the wrong path.
"It got scary at the end, but the big interception saved the day," says John Williams. Williams coached Porter in track before he was talked into playing football. He says Porter was always fast, but New Orleans Saint #22 is a far cry from the Port Allen Pelicans #2 that he remembers. "He never did all that dancing after a big play."
Port Allen will never be another #2 on the field. Porter's jersey is retired.
Edward Searcy teaches biology at Port Allen. Not only did he teach all of Porter's family (Searcy has taught for 56 years), but he also taught Tracy. "Tracey was about a 'B' student, when I taught him biology," says Searcy. He also gave Porter another "B" for his performance in the in the NFC championship game. He says he's looking at the good and the bad. Like the missed tackle on third and eight - with just under two minutes on the clock.
"You make a mistake, but you make up for the mistake that you made," Searcy says. That's exactly what Porter did. Now it's the interception that the fans remember.
Coach Williams says Porter is still the same humble man he remembers. He bought new uniforms for the Pelican football team. And visits regularly to talk to the kids. That's the part his old biology teacher likes best. "I like him to talk to the students. Particularly the boys," Searcy says. He says he wants them to understand they can't live on athletics alone. "You're going to need something more substantial. And you're going to get it right here in the classroom and move up a little higher."