Olympus football eager to compete in challenging Region 6
Aug 15, 2018 02:45PM
● By Josh McFadden
Running back Jack Hollberg returns to the back field for his senior season. Hollberg looks for room against Brighton in a game last season. (Photo courtesy of Scott Thomas)
By Josh McFadden | firstname.lastname@example.org
In football, like in any sport, coaches love when they can find teachable players with good attitudes. Of course, it’s nice to have some talent as well. Olympus Head Coach Aaron Whitehead said his players have both attributes.
As his Titans prepare for the 2018 season, Whitehead has been happy with his players’ efforts at practice. It’s evident to him that they’re hungry to improve on last season’s 4-6 mark. Olympus also placed fourth in Region 6 with a 2-3 record. It lost in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament to Springville, 28-14.
“I’m very impressed with this group,” Whitehead said. “I like their willingness to learn and their attitude. They’ve put in a lot of work in the offseason. I’m excited with how positive they are. I think we’ll have success.”
Whitehead said the players have taken it upon themselves to come up with objectives for the season. He’s confident their work ethic and mindset will pay off.
“It’s very rewarding to have the team set and attain goals,” he said.
The Titans’ offense could be interesting to watch this season. Whitehead welcomes back a loaded unit with experience and skill. Olympus has four returning starters on the offensive line. Malosi Neria, a senior, is a three-year starter on the line, while fellow senior Josh Mondale will be starting for the second straight year. Two junior offensive linemen, Lucas Spillett and Emerson Conlan, are also entering their second season as starters. Zack Reynolds will also be in the mix.
“Our lineman are athletic and strong,” Whitehead said.
Quarterback Jackson Frank, who got some time last season under center, will start for Olympus this year. He threw a touchdown pass in a backup role to departed senior Harrison Creer.
“(Frank) is a capable, gifted quarterback,” Whitehead said. “He’s absolutely coachable and is a great leader and captain. He’s a phenomenal athlete.”
Whitehead is also excited about wide receiver Noah Bennee. The 6-foot-5 wideout snagged a team-high 28 passes for 512 yards and five touchdowns last season. Whitehead said he has drawn the attention of some Division 1 college programs.
“He’s a gifted player,” Whitehead said. “He’s a playmaker and has great control of his body in space. He has a chance to play on Saturdays.”
Jonah Pingree and Matt Ward will also see time at wide receiver. Meanwhile, the Titans use a host of running backs in their offense, and there’s plenty of depth at that position with this squad. Tommy Poulton and Jack Hollberg return to the backfield after combining for nearly 500 yards last season. Chase Bennion, Scott Edwards and Chase Hopkins will also rotate in the lineup.
Defensively, junior defensive tackle Uriah Te’o will anchor the line. Isaac Wilcox is a leader at the linebacker position. He had three sacks and 49 tackles last season.
“(Te’o) is a tough kid,” Whitehead said. “Wilcox is a tough, physical kid. He’s extremely fast.”
Mac Wolfenbarger is another player Whitehead is counting on to make plays on defense. Pingree will line up at strong safety, while a handful of other offensive players will see time on the other side of the ball as well. Whitehead also praised place kicker Alec Foulger, whom he said is “already on pace ot be quite a good kicker.”
The Titans opened the year Aug. 17 at home against Cottonwood. Whitehead said that game will set the tone for the rest of the season — a season he hopes will end with great success.
“We set a vision in 2011 (when he became head coach) to win region and play in the state semifinals,” he said. “We want to get back there. The goal is to get back as region champions.”
Olympus kicks off Region 6 play Sep. 14 at home against West.