Lions bring home the River Bell

With the cold weather rolling in and the holiday season beginning, the Lions football team has concluded their season with a 3-8 overall record and a 1-6 record in conference play.

The season, which began with a loss at Tulane on Sept. 3 and ended with a win on Nov. 17 against Nicholls State, saw ups and downs for a Lions team that ranked seventh in the SLC by the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) polls going into the season.

For head coach Mike Lucas, this season left something to be desired, but left the coach with a feeling that good things were coming in the future for the team.

“It’s a disappointing season when you only win three football games, but you got to look, we only had two seniors playing on defense all season. We only had four seniors on offense,” said Lucas. “I think the future is very bright and we just need to continue now to get into the offseason program and get ready for next season.”

According to Lucas, this year’s roster was made up of a large number of freshmen and redshirt freshmen, resulting in the lack of experience on the Lions roster. This is one of the reasons the team was ranked so low early in the season.

At the beginning of the season, Lucas explained that the defense was very young, but after the victory over Nicholls State he was pleased with their growth.

“We held these guys [Nicholls State] to 14 points tonight. Last week we held Stephen F. Austin to 28,” said Lucas. “I think ever since the Texas State game we have really been maturing and growing defensively and getting better every week.”

Going into the season, the Lions boasted one of the conference’s most experienced and dangerous groups of wide receivers. The group, made up of seniors Simmie Yarborough, Kory Theodore and Brandon Collins, ended the season with the 11th ranked passing offense in the FCS.

The season also saw senior wide receiver Simmie Yarborough end his collegiate football career with a FCS and Southeastern record 226 receptions. He also holds school records in receiving yardage (2,780 yards) and touchdowns (30).

“I mean first of all I’d like to thank the coaches, the O-line to the quarterback and to everybody else running the other routes that make it look like I’m not about to get the ball,” said Yarborough on his legacy at Southeastern. “I mean, I’m just thankful for the way everything fell.”

This season also saw the emergence of sophomore running back LaTruan Weary as a threat in the backfield. Weary ends the season with 307 yards and five touchdowns on 69 attempts.

“LaTruan was a guy who came in here as a walk on and the weight room has been very good to him,” said Lucas. “He’s gotten stronger and he’s playing very well for us. I’m very happy for him. He’s a well deserving young man.”

When asked about his success this season, Weary was positive that his work ethic was one of the reasons Lucas gave him a bigger role as the season went on.

“Blessed, I’m just so blessed. I put God first in everything I do,” said Weary. “At practice I go hard and I know my assignments in everything that I do. I put the trust in my O-line and they get it done.”

Going forward, the team looks to improve and get their young players used to participating in an offseason program. According to quarterback Brian Young, some of the players on the team have not been through an offseason program.

“The season starts whenever we get back. We need to start working on some leadership things. Try to get some of these guys used to going through an offseason program,” said Young. “It’s a big key to how the upcoming season is going to be.”

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