Mims trying his hand with Class 5A Vicksburg High

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 11, 2005

[1/11/05]Throughout his stellar career at Porters Chapel Academy, Gerald Mims always wondered to himself how he would stack up at a bigger school.

Could he compete? Could he start? Could he have the same kind of success?

He’s about to answer all of his questions.

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Mims, a four-year starter for PCA in football and a starting center fielder for the baseball team, has transferred to Vicksburg High. He started classes last week, and plans to play baseball for the Gators this spring. Mims, a junior, will also go out for football in the fall. Since he’s transferring to VHS from a private school, he won’t have to wait to play sports.

“Mainly because my dad went to school here,” Mims said of his reasons for transferring. “It’s kind of a big thing family-wise, and people want to follow in their father’s footsteps. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try out. So far, I’m liking it pretty good.”

Mims’ father, Bubba, was a standout linebacker for Vicksburg in the 1970s before playing at Ole Miss. Bubba Mims also coached football at PCA from 2000 until his death last May.

The reminders of his father were constant at PCA, Gerald Mims said, and played a smaller part in his decision to transfer.

“It was kind of hard at times. There were a lot of things that reminded me of him,” Mims said. “I’m mainly over them now.”

Mims made the decision to switch schools over the holidays, and said he had not talked with a lot of people from PCA since then. He steered clear of a question about the reaction from his former teammates, but said he felt welcomed by his new ones so far.

“I’m adapting pretty good. It’s a lot different, but I like it so far,” Mims said.

Mims started at quarterback for PCA’s football team as an eighth-grader in the 2001 season. In two seasons at quarterback, he completed 58 of 126 passes for 900 yards, with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.

He moved to tailback in 2003 and in two seasons has amassed 1,576 total yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He also played linebacker and defensive back, totaling 201 tackles and six interceptions in two seasons.

This season, Mims was second on the team in rushing with 580 yards, and helped the Eagles to their first district championship since 1982.

Mims was also a standout baseball player. In three seasons, including two as a starting outfielder, he hit .286 with six home runs and 57 RBIs. He also scored 59 runs and had 32 stolen bases while helping PCA to the 2003 Academy-A state championship and a return appearance in the state finals in 2004.

Randy Wright, who coaches football and baseball at PCA, said he supported Mims’ decision. Wright also said the Eagles’ program is in good enough shape to weather the loss, which marks the second time in two years a player has left PCA for Vicksburg.

Tyler Wells, now a sophomore, transferred to VHS in 2003 and saw significant playing time at running back last fall. Wells also plays baseball.

“We’re going to be in great shape. We’ve got a lot of talent, and one player is not going to make or break our program,” Wright said.

As for Mims, he was eager to prove himself at Vicksburg. He knows it’s a big leap in competition from a Class A academy to a Class 5A public school, but was ready for the challenge.

“It’s a huge difference. I already know that,” Mims said. “I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m anxious to find out.”