Senior Spotlight: Vines excels on the gridiron and the diamond for Vidalia
VIDALIA — It was evident at an early age that sports would play a huge part in Vidalia High School senior Caleb Vines’ life.
Vines played football and baseball since he was young, but the interest actually began in the earliest stages of his life, he said.
“The first time I started playing with a football was when I was in diapers,” Vines said.
Vines’ mother, Delynn Vines, said it was hard to pull Caleb away from sports in the evening when he was growing up.
“He’s always been one of those natural athletes,” she said. “You can just tell. He didn’t want to quit playing when I told him he had to come inside.
“It’s sad to see all of his high school memories ending with him being a senior. There are always highs and lows, and he’s had a good experience.”
Football was something Caleb said he picked up from his brother Josh Vines, who played quarterback for Newellton High School. Vines was the Vikings’ starting quarterback from his sophomore to senior seasons.
“My brother is what inspired me,” Caleb Vines said. “He taught me a lot about the position. I played outside linebacker my freshman year, but the adjustment wasn’t tough, because I played quarterback in middle school.
“I’ve been playing two ways since junior high, so it wasn’t anything new for me.”
Vines had the experience of playing for Vidalia legend Dee Faircloth his first three years at Vidalia High.
“Coach Faircloth is a pretty crazy, unique man,” Vines said. “He made it fun though. He’s really famous in the area, and I’m glad I got to play for him and that he got to coach me.
“There are too many crazy stories he told me to remember. Anytime I talked to him, there was always a new story to hear. It was never anything old.”
Vines took a lot of hits at quarterback during his senior season, something his mom had to endure watching.
“It’s always scary as a mom, seeing him laying out on the field and the coaches can’t seem to get out there quickly enough,” Delynn Vines said.
“I told him a long time ago, if he’s laying there, just move a little bit. That’s been our signal that always lets me know he’s OK.”
Baseball is also a big deal for Caleb Vines, and Vines said he was glad to spend several seasons playing for former Viking coach Johnny Lee Hoffpauir.
“It’s pretty special,” Vines said. “A few of the players he’s coached have gotten to Major League Baseball. He taught us how the game is supposed to be played.”
Vines said he’s looking around at a few junior colleges where he can possibly continue his baseball career. He said his family is a big reason he’s gotten as far as he has athletically.
“They played a big role,” he said. “As a kid, all I was doing every day was throwing a ball in the yard. My dad inspired me a lot, taking me to the cage every day and really pushing me.”