Northampton Press

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Yarbough earned his playing time

Thursday, November 15, 2018 by jeff moeller Special to the Press in Sports

After his junior year, Damon Yarbough nearly quit the football team.

He didn’t, and proved how an age-old adage can still work.

“I felt like I wasn’t going to get a whole lot of playing time,” said Yarbough. “I didn’t play varsity as a junior. But I figured that I might as well see it through.

“Once I saw how things were and the feeling around the team in the summer, I knew that I made the right choice.”

His coaches certainly would agree.

Yarbough had a stellar year at linebacker for the Konkrete Kids and was a key component in helping them achieve their first winning season since 2008 and their first playoff appearance in 15 years.

It literally was an uphill climb for Yarbough.

At the beginning of the year, Yarbough was at the bottom of the Kids’ depth chart at his position and he made a mercurial rise to the top.

“Damon (Yarbough) is an example of how hard work and determination can impact an individual’s level of success,” said head coach Kyle Haas. “We promised that the best kids would play, and he consistently worked hard and improved throughout the season.

“Damon had a great senior year because he decided to take advantage of his opportunities. He is extremely coachable and gives us every ounce of his ability.”

Yarbough recognizes his coach’s influence on him and his team.

“This has been a lot better season that we had in the past,” said Yarbough. “(Coach Haas) got everyone’s attention as soon as he got here and he immediately brought everyone to the next level.

“He (Haas) brought Northampton football back. We believe that we seniors will leave the program in a pretty good situation.”

Yarbough saw the dominating win at East Stroudsburg South as a turning point of the season.

“Definitely that game was the turning point,” he said. “We were 2-1 at the time and we gained a lot of respect after that win. From then on, we knew we were going to have a special year.”

Yarbough began playing football in fourth grade, and he admittedly played nearly every position until he became settled as a linebacker his sophomore year. He is grateful to his father, Andy, who also played in high school and has been a constant inspiration.

He will cherish the moment seeing his first action in the annual battle with Catasauqua on Thanksgiving morning.

“I’m just happy to be part of it,” he said. “I have been preparing the best I can.”

That game, however, will be his last as a football player. Yarbough will attend a community college next year and work toward a four-year degree in communications.

Thanksgiving morning will mark an end to a momentous year for Yarbough that nearly didn’t begin.