Mundy’s Mill kicker Loic Chimi has converted 26 extra-point attempts and booted three field goals for the Tigers this season. (Staff Photo: Derrick Mahone)
JONESBORO — Loic Chimi was in the Mundy’s Mill locker room when offensive coordinator Patrick Smith was trying to convince a soccer player to come out for the team.
The Tigers were in search of someone to handle the kicking duties.
Chimi was a soccer player who had never played organized football before, but that didn’t stop him from coming to the open tryout. The then-junior showed up with tennis shoes on and begun kicking.
He was so impressive that Smith invited him back to the team.
“I just wanted to try something new,” Chimi said. “I didn’t know much about kicking a football, because I’m a soccer player. I thought it looked interesting.”
With some work from the coaching staff, Chimi has turned into a regular contributor to the team.
Heading into tonight the Class AAAAA playoff game at Lee County, the Tigers will likely be calling on Chimi for some scoring.
“If you have a reliable kicker, it is an added bonus in the playoffs,” Mundy’s Mill coach Greg Manior said. “Points become hard to come by in the playoffs, because every team is good. Games are usually close, and you never know when an extra-point or field goal will win a game for you.”
In last week’s first round playoff win over Houston County, Chimi was successful on three of his four extra-point conversion in addition to kicking two field goals. He had field goals of 39 and 32 yards in the 33-13 win, the Tigers’ first postseason win in school history.
“I was happy that I was able to contribute to this team,” Chimi said. “I want to do what I can to help us win.”
During the regular season, he made 26 extra-point kicks in 31 tries for a 83 percent average. He also was successful on two of four field goal tries.
But the Tigers didn’t have to call on Chimi much during the year with senior running back Rodney Smith scoring 17 of the team’s 25 touchdowns. Moving the ball during the regular season, especially during the team’s six-game regular-season winning streak wasn’t much of problem.
But Manior acknowledges that the postseason will present a bigger challenge if the team continues to win.
“You are starting to face some real good competition,” Manior said. “You have to get your points were you can.”
Manior said he feels comfortable with Chimi in the 42-yard range.
“His leg has gotten a lot stronger,” Manior said. “All he does for us is kick. He has done a great job in working on his technique.”
Before moving to the United States two years ago from Cameroon, Chimi played soccer and rugby in his native country. Making the adjustment to the American version of football took some time and studying.
“I had to go on the Internet to find out some information about the game,” Chimi said. “I really listen to the coaches, and do what they ask me to do. The coaches and my teammates have really helped me.”
And Chimi has helped the Tigers.