Senior defensive lineman Sherby Saimplice earned multiple honors for his performance in the football team’s 25-22 victory against Thiel College on Sept. 9. He tallied 7 tackles, including 1.5 sacks. His biggest play was a key defensive stop for the Bearcats, where he forced a safety with a sack in the end zone just before the end of the first half.
His stats landed him the PAC Defensive Player of the Week award, ECAC South Defensive Player of the Week honors and a spot on Team of the Week on D3football.com.
Saimplice is a native of Lakeland, Florida, and graduated from Lakeland Senior High School, where he played four years of football.
Unfortunately for Saimplice, he suffered a season ending injury in the Bearcat’s first game against Alma College in the 2016 season.
“It was tough,” Saimplice said. “Every game that season I wished I could be on the field. But I did what I could from the sidelines and tried to give pointers to my teammates.”
As it goes for many athletes, a minor setback calls for a major comeback. He says it feels unreal to be back on the field, and is taking advantage of every game that he has because he never knows when one could be his last.
His attitude is the reason his teammates voted for him to serve as captain
His teammate, Ariel Martinez, a junior psychology major, said that he voted for Saimplice because, “He has been through a lot of adversity over the years and some injuries have held him back, but he never let that stop him. Now he is one of the most dominating defensive linemen in the PAC. Sherby comes out every day expecting the best out of himself and the rest of the team and it shows on and off the field.”
Head football coach Ron Dolciatto also agrees that Saimplice’s ability to put on a brave face and persevere through his injuries has molded him into a great leader.
“Sherby has matured over the past four years into a person who understands the dynamics of being a leader on our football team and on the Saint Vincent campus,” Dolciatto said. “He has always been able to bounce back and work harder to get to where he is today on the football field. I think his teammates respect all the time and energy he has put into rehabbing his injuries over the years.”
Saimplice notes that his most important role as captain is off of the field, primarily by making sure that everyone on the team is doing the right thing, going to class, getting their homework done and staying out of trouble. His expectations for his team on the field are just as high.
“I want to see us be the PAC champions this year,” Saimplice said. “We just need to focus on playing as a team. Each week, every single player needs to know exactly what his assignments are and execute them. If we do that, we can beat anyone.”
With wins against Thiel College and Geneva College, the Bearcats currently stand at 1-1 in the PAC and 2-2 overall.
Saimplice is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and plans to join the United States Air Force after graduating from Saint Vincent. His interests outside of football include, hanging out with friends, playing imessage games and “Netflix and chill.”
Saimplice and the rest of the Bearcat football team return to action Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. at home against the Case Western Reserve.
Photo: SVC Athletics