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OU football: Grandmother's intuition — Willie Jean Yarbrough knew Kendal Thompson would play

Just past the midway point of the fourth quarter, with the Sooners up 41-10 over Iowa State, Thompson finally got the call
by Ryan Aber Modified: November 18, 2013 at 9:00 am •  Published: November 17, 2013

Willie Jean Yarbrough called her son, Charles Thompson, on Friday insisting he find her a ticket to the next day's Oklahoma-Iowa State game.

Thompson tried to talk her out of it.

It was too late for Yarbrough to get on the family ticket list. It was hard for her to get around much. Her grandson, Kendal Thompson, wasn't likely to play anyway.

But Yarbrough would have none of it.

“I was insisting,” she said. “It's just the feeling that I had.”

That feeling was that Kendal, the Sooners' third-string quarterback going into the game, would finally get to play in a real game on Owen Field.

By Friday night, Charles had found his mother a ticket.

Yarbrough has a substantial collection of angels, including ones named for each of her six children, 27 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Many of the figurines were lost when her southwest Oklahoma City home was destroyed in the May 20 tornado. Kendal's figurine was among those lost.

Saturday morning, she placed an angel — Kendal's new figurine — into her purse and went to a football game at OU for the first time since Charles starred at quarterback for the Sooners in 1988.

“It brought all the memories back,” Yarbrough said.

When starter Blake Bell was injured early and backup Trevor Knight helped the Sooners build up a big second-half lead, it became more and more likely that Kendal would make his debut.

Yarbrough got louder and louder.

“I kept saying, ‘I knew he was going to play,'” she said.

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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