United by a Scary Night: Highland Park, Grand Prairie

Anyone who was at Highlander Stadium for the 1974 Highland Park – Grand Prairie football game will never forget that night.

In the third quarter, Scots fullback Bobby McCullough was hit by Grand Prairie defensive back Larry Mims in a collision that injured both players.

Mims remained motionless on the field for what seemed like an eternity as trainers and doctors evaluated his injury. The stands grew quiet as the seriousness of Mims’s injury became apparent.

HP cheerleaders hushed the crowd and led the student section in prayer. After 45 quiet minutes, stadium announcer Albert Dudley led the entire stadium in prayer as an ambulance drove out onto the field to where the still motionless player lay.

“It still brings tears to my eyes how nice the Highland Park people were to me.” -Larry Mims

Larry Mims

It was one of the most severe injuries in HP football history. Mims had broken his neck in three places and was unable to move any part of his body.

“I remember my uniform being cut off in the ambulance,” said Mims, a 5-foot 8-inch, 150-pound sophomore who had college talent and NFL ambitions. “I couldn’t talk and couldn’t move. I felt like I was dreaming.”

Mims, the fifth of nine children, was taken to St. Paul Hospital and was met there by his parents. There was concern that he would be a paraplegic, and there was even some doubt that he would make it through the night. But he made it to the next day. And the next and the next.

Five weeks later, he could feel part of his left side. After a month and a half, he could move his right side and was then able to go home after Thanksgiving.

“It still brings tears to my eyes how nice the Highland Park people were to me,” said Mims recently. “Someone from Highland Park visited me every day, and they helped my family with expenses. With their help, my family didn’t want for nothin’. That took the pressure off and was a real blessing.”

The Highland Park student body raised more than $10,000 for the Mims family, and Larry was given an $11,000 scholarship after graduating from Grand Prairie High School.

Marc Snyder and Rick Thompson played football for the Scots back then and have helped keep the story alive that bonded the Park Cities and the Grand Prairie communities.

Snyder was on the field when Mims was injured. Thompson played JV that season and was in the stands for the fateful game. His parents were both Grand Prairie grads and were amazed at the heartfelt response from their Grand Prairie friends to the love the Scots fans gave the Mims family.

Today Mims and his wife, Katie, live a wonderful life in Cedar Hill. He has two grown children, Larry Jr. and Lotoya. Mims works for Cenveo, a commercial printing company in Farmers Branch. He coaches youth football and is a deacon at his church, where he regularly thanks God for his good health.

“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to all the Highland Park people who were there for me when I needed it.”

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