Yarborough bags records for SEL

Published 7:00 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

The 2011 college football season is comingto a close this weekend for most players. Most of them will be homefor the Christmas Holidays.

    Closer to home, three Brookhaven High graduates are wrapping uptheir collegiate careers. Wide receiver Simmie Yarborough ofSoutheastern Louisiana University ended his career last Thursdaynight in Hammond, with a big, 31-14 win over Nicholls StateUniversity.

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    Yarborough, an elusive, sticky-fingered receiver, is SEL’s all-timeleader in pass receptions with 229 catchers and 2,780 receivingyards. His 30 touchdowns are a school record, too.

    To their credit, the SEL Lions reclaimed the River Bell Trophy forthe first since 2007 with the win in Strawberry Stadium. Theyfinished 3-8 overall and 1-6 in the Southland Conference.

    Yarborough caught 3 passes for 67 yards s the lions expanded a 10-0halftime lead.

    “It feels good to out to with a win,” said Yarborough. “Coming offour last loss, we wanted to win that River Bell game. We had to getit.”

    A 4-year starter, Yarborough was an annual bright spot for theLions, earning All-Southland Conference recognition. He said teamgoals were more important than his impressive numbers.

    “”I wish we could have got a couple more wins,” said Yarborough. “Iwould have liked to have won a conference championship.”

    He is the proud owner of the longest play in Southland Conferencehistory, a 95-yard catch and run against Sam Houston State when hewas a junior.

    He is the proud father of an 8-month old son, Simmie Jr.

    His parents, Claudette Yarborough Harris and Cliff Harris, joinedhim on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate their blessings. He has ayounger sister, Claudeazyia, 7; and an older brother, Willie, 23.His biological father is Robert Brown of Slidell, La.

    Looking ahead, Yarborough plans to complete work towards his degreein the spring, with an eye on the NFL Draft next summer. “I will beworking out and trying to make it in the NFL.”

    If the NFL fails to call, Yarborough said he plans to coach highschool football in Texas. “My girlfriend’s brother is a coach outthere. They pay good money, too.”

    Asked to look back on his career, Yarborough said, “One of myhighlights was probably my sophomore year when we were at TexasState. There was about eight minutes in the game and we were down20 points. We won in double overtime.”

    He said playing college football at SEL has benefited him in manyareas.

    “I feel blessed to have played football. I’m thankful for thecoaches and players I’ve been around.”

    He pointed to SEL head coach Mike Lucas as a role model. “He mademe a better man. Being under him, you learn so many life skills. Hehelps you.”

    Most importantly, Lucas influenced Yarborough’s spiritual outlook.”You have to have God in your life. Coach Mike introduced me to thespiritual world.”

    Unfortunately, Lucas was fired Monday after five years at the helm.His Lions were 3-8 this season and 19-40 overall. Coaching ishazardous duty.

    Another Brookhaven product, SEL freshman offensive lineman StoneUnderwood, is being redshirted.

    “The coaches really love Stone and the way his body looks,” saidYarborough. “He will get bigger and stronger. I wish him the bestin the future.”

    Overall, Yarborough said the SEL football future offers plenty ofpromise.


    Center Darion Smith (6-2, 280, sr.), completes his college careerSaturday as the UAB Blazers visit Boca Raton, Fla. for a 3 p.m.date with Florida Atlantic. UAB (3-8, 3-5 C-USA) must focus on thetask at hand instead of celebrating the monumental 34-31 upset winagainst Southern Miss last Thursday on Legion Field in Birmingham.Wearing jersey No. 75, Smith has started 23 straight games for theBlazers since transferring from Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege.

    Smith, a former BHS standout and a Rimington Award nominee, hasrealized two straight upset wins over Southern Miss. The GoldenEagles were ranked No. 22 in last week’s AP Top 25 Poll andsupposedly had an inside track on a Sugar Bowl berth if theycontinued their winning ways.

    Oops! The Blazers were ready and waiting.

    Linebacker Charles “Bobo” Rancifer (6-3, 217, sr.) and the ToledoRockets (7-4) are bowl eligible as they play at Ball State today ina Mid-American Conference clash. The BHS grad has made 43 tacklesthis season.

    Rancifer was a 3-year starter at quarterback for the Ole BrookPanthers but moved to defense at Co-Lin. He started as a freshmansafety and then made the move to linebacker where he continued toblossom.


    Meanwhile, Professor Hoopla B.S., continues to blossom during hislong prognosticating career. He predicted the winners of five gameslast week and got four correct.

    Here’s a preview of this weekend’s winners, starting with someFriday night high school playoff action.

    Seminary at Hazlehurst: In another exciting game, the Indians posta hard-fought, Class 3A South State victory. Hazlehurst 20-10.

    Simpson Academy vs. River Oaks:Unbeaten Cougars complete a perfectseason with a MAIS Class AA state championship win over theMustangs on the Millsaps College campus. Simpson 33-14.


    Natchez Cathedral at Noxapater: Surging Green Wave washes away theTigers in the South State 1A championship game., Cathedral37-21.

    East Marion at Bassfield: Yellowjackets showcase their speedybackfield in the Class 2A South State finals in Jefferson DavisCounty. Bassfield 42-18.

    Laurel at Quitman: Class 4A South State honors are up for grabs asthe Tornadoes blow out the Panthers. Laurel 44-24.

    Pearl River Central at Picayune: A huge country rivalry determinesthe South State 5A champion. Picayune 28-27.

    Petal at Meridian: Wildcats have too much depth and talent for thePanthers to handle in South State 6A title test. Meridian30-17.

    Arkansas at LSU: In a Friday special, the No. 1-ranked Tigersbutcher the Hogs in Death Valley. LSU 32-12.

    Ole Miss at Mississippi State: Bulldogs become bowl eligible with abig win over the Rebels. State 38-17.

    Memphis at Southern Miss. Golden Eagles rebound and win their lastgame by a large margin. Southern Miss 38-14.

    North Alabama at Delta State: Round Two of the NCAA Division IIplayoffs promises plenty of offensive excitement. Delta State31-28.


     Contact sports editor Tom Goetz byEmail: tgoetz@dailyleader.com