New’ Eagles to face old friend at Pine Hills

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 21, 2000

The Porters Chapel Academy Eagles are ready to take the final step in getting over the sudden resignation of Jim Sizemore, but a familiar face hopes to keep them from going home happy.

New head coach Bubba Mims will make his debut on the road against former PCA assistant Andy Hopkins and Pine Hills (1-4). Mims and Hopkins don’t know each other personally, but Hopkins and many of the PCA players and assistant coaches do.

“It’s one of those deals when you wish you didn’t have to play each other … ” said Hopkins, who coached at PCA 1997-98. “If we win, I’ll be happy to see them, but if we don’t, I’ll be mad at them.”

For the Eagles (2-3), the game is a chance to start a new era. Mims said the transition from Sizemore to him has gone well.

Mims, who also coaches PCA’s third- through sixth-grade team, said assistant coaches Randy Wright, Chris Busby and John Ryan Lee and the eagerness of the players to move on, have made the transition smooth.

“They’ve been tremendous. They get there early and they stay late … ,” Mims said. “I’m lucky to be surrounded by such capable people.”

As the countdown to gametime begins, Mims said he isn’t feeling pressure yet.

“I’m not nervous yet, but I’m sure I will be by the kickoff, and if I wasn’t, then I don’t need to be out there,” he said.

Mims would like nothing more than to get his first win as a high school head coach.

“A win would be huge. Huge for the school, huge for the players and huge for the coaching staff, huge for everybody,” he said.

Hopkins said his team needs a win, too, and plans to end Pine Hills’ losing streak while continuing a personal winning streak.

“I’ve never lost a homecoming game on this field, and I don’t intend to start now,” said Hopkins, who helped PCA beat Pine Hills on two straight homecoming nights, then helped the Wildcats win as an assistant last season.

Backing Hopkins up is a Pine Hills team that has put up good numbers but ran into bad luck. The Wildcats rolled up 380 yards of total offense in a loss to Tensas, have lost to two Academy-AA teams and blew a 13-0 lead against Trinity last week.

“Basically, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot … The first two games we doubled the offensive output of both Tensas and Columbia … and then couldn’t score in the red zone,” Hopkins said.

Rocket-armed, 6-foot-5 quarterback Jonathan Honea leads a Wildcat offense that likes to throw a lot. Honea has thrown for 666 yards and three touchdowns while completing 41 of 78 passes. His two favorite targets are seniors Jeff Whittington (16 catches for 282 yards, two TDs) and running back Chris Guidry (15 catches, 187 yards), who has run for 500 yards.

“Just about every ball he’s caught has been a screen pass,” Hopkins said of Guidry. “He has such good moves that you try to get the ball in his hands. …”

Mims said he noticed Pine Hills’ tendency to throw screens, which may disrupt his plan to pressure Honea. Both situations have been worked on, Mims assured.

“I don’t think we can let him sit back in the pocket for a long time or he’ll pick us apart. He’ll pick anybody apart,” Mims said. “They throw a lot of screens … We’ve worked on that and hopefully we can stop that, too.”

The Eagles will stick with the same system Sizemore used, at least for now. Mims said he will add new wrinkles, plays and defenses as the season progresses.

Hopkins, who was preparing for a Wright-coached team Wright coached the team in a 41-28 loss to Briarfield last Friday expects the wrinkles to come sooner.

“Randy likes a wide-open game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see not what you would call trick plays, but not a lot of dives,” he said. “With (Mims), I don’t have a clue.”