Olympus football falls just short of chance to play on big stage
Nov 18, 2019 02:16PM
By Josh McFadden
Frankie Goodson rips off a long run during the second quarter of its playoff game against Murray. (Travis Barton/City Journals)
By Josh McFadden | [email protected]
Another region title: check. Another season with double-digit wins: check. A return to Rice-Eccles Stadium: barely off the mark.
The Olympus football team made a valiant comeback but narrowly lost at home to Orem, 31-28, in the Class 5A state quarterfinals Nov. 8. Olympus’ season came to a halt, as the team finished 10-2 overall and 6-0 in Region 6, winning the league.
In many ways, the 2019 campaign was similar to the 2018 season.
Last year, Olympus cruised to an undefeated region title, winning most games by ridiculous margins. This season, the Titans outscored league foes 251-64. Their closest region game was a 33-20 win over Brighton on Sept. 13. In 2018, Olympus reached the semifinals with a 12-0 record and lost a heartbreaker to Corner Canyon, 20-15. This time around, the Titans also lost a close postseason game. Which meant they were one round short of getting back to the semifinals to play on the home field of the University of Utah.
Olympus drew a difficult quarterfinals matchup. Orem has won two straight state titles and entered this game with a 7-4 record but had won five of its last six games, all by at least 15 points. The first half of this contest was a back-and-forth affair. After falling behind 7-0, Olympus scored touchdowns in the first and second quarter to go up 14-7. Christian Peterson scored on a two-yard run late in the first. Then, Scotty Edwards caught a 9-yard TD pass from Frankie Goodson halfway through the second. Orem countered with a late field goal that proved to be crucial.
The third quarter was a nightmare for Olympus.
Orem rolled off three consecutive touchdowns, all on big plays. Just when it looked as though Olympus was dead in the water, Edwards scored on a four-yard run with 5:25 to play. Goodson then tossed a 28-yard TD pass to Ryan Thomas with just under two minutes to play. However, the Titans ran out of time, ending their hopes of becoming one of the final four teams standing in the 5A playoffs.
The Titans reached the quarterfinals with a dominant 49-7 victory over Murray in the second round on Nov. 1. It was a similar game to the Titans’ 42-7 win over the Spartans on Sept. 6. In this postseason matchup, Olympus didn’t allow a point until the final five minutes. Before that, the team amassed a 26-0 halftime lead thanks to two touchdown passes from Goodson to Edwards to go along with a team safety.
In the second half, Olympus scored 23 straight points. Hunter Birdsley picked off a pass and went 75 yards the other way for a TD. Peterson had TD runs of one yard and four yards in the third quarter. The Titans also got another safety late in the third quarter and capped off their scoring with a 20-yard run from Carson Bennion early in the fourth.
After an impressive two-year run, what’s next for the Titans? Head coach Aaron Whitehead has some holes to fill. Goodson will graduate after having thrown 17 touchdowns this season. Other top offensive performers Edwards and running back Chase Hopkins will also depart. Edwards had seven rushing touchdowns and seven touchdown receptions on the year, while Hopkins ran for nearly 1,600 yards and compiled 19 TDs on the ground. Defensively, the team will miss lineman Emerson Conlon, who had 72 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Senior James Sheets had a team-high 76 tackles to go along with half a sack and two interceptions.