With region conquered, Olympus football eyes state title run
Oct 25, 2018 04:35PM
● By Jana Klopsch
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
All season long, the Olympus football team has been a force on both sides of the ball.
No wonder the Titans have been practically untouchable.
Olympus went a perfect 5-0 in Region 6, capturing the title with only one close game. Olympus finished was an unblemished 10-0 overall. The Titans won its first nine games by an average score of 43-6 — and that includes a tight 13-12 victory over Highland on Sept. 28.
In those nine wins, the Titans topped the 40-point mark in all but two games (the win over Highland and in a 28-7 victory over defending 5A champion Lehi on Sept. 21). Defensively, the Titans have been equally as scary. They shut out four opponents and held two others to single digits. The 13 points by Kearns in a 36-point Olympus win on Sept. 7 were the most points the Titans allowed all year.
Most games were basically over at halftime.
Olympus concluded region play with back-to-back 49-0 victories — first over Murray on Oct. 5 and then over Skyline on Oct. 11. In both contests, it was 35-0 at the break. Olympus also led Brighton 35-0 at halftime back on Aug. 31 and was up on Granger 42-0 at the end of the second quarter on Aug. 24.
“This is a great group of players that have bought into our offensive and defensive philosophies,” said head coach Aaron Whitehead. “Our scheme is simple; we are fortunate to have great athletes executing it.”
This is what made the one-point win over Highland so surprising. Of course, the Rams placed second in Region 6, with its only loss coming to Olympus. The Rams gave the Titans all they could handle.
In that game, the powerful Olympus offense managed just one touchdown through three quarters but still led by a point, thanks to a missed Highland extra point following its second-quarter TD. Olympus actually trailed 12-7 in the final minute of the game until Tommy Poulton punched the ball in from three yards out.
The Titans had just 181 yards of offense in the game but also limited Highland to 187 in the defensive struggle.
Outside of the barn-burner against the Rams, Olympus had little trouble moving the ball all year. Four players had at least 400 yards rushing heading into the regular season finale. Senior Jack Holberg led the way with 607 yards. Poulton, also a senior, led the team with 11 touchdowns on the ground, and he was third with 501 yards. Fellow senior Chase Bennion had 536 yards and four touchdowns. Junior Scotty Edwards carried 24 times for 423 yards — a whopping 17.6 yards a carry.
Quarterback Jackson Frank has been potent through the air. He completed nearly 55 percent of his passes for more than 1,300 yards. His 21-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio turned heads. Noah Bennee, Edwards and Holberg each had more than 10 catches and 300 yards receiving.
Olympus picked off 15 passes, including four from Bennee. Lincoln Draper had 62 tackles, five sacks and a pair of interceptions.
Whitehead is keeping a level-headed approach and credits his players for making the most of situations.
“The players have done well in maintaining a high level of focus,” he said. “We haven't necessarily been head and shoulders above all of our opponents. Our players have seized opportunities, specifically against Kearns and Lehi.”
Olympus will take on Alta in the first round of the state tournament Oct. 26 at 4 p.m.
“Our team has continued to work hard in preparations all year long,” Whitehead said. “We will continue to do so throughout the playoffs. We feel that we have weathered the best shot of several opponents. In addition to continuing this, we will need to sharpen some aspects of our game.”