Friday, February 8, 2013

Olympus football: 2012 season recap

The Olympus Titans came back to post another good season and the players and coaches were pretty happy about it. Here's the article that will appear in the team's 2012 football yearbook.

A pleasant late-season run
Titans keep improving and, after a 0-3 start,
force their will on others to earn a tie atop region
By Bruce Smith
            One game made the difference in the Olympus Titans’ 2012 football run.
            You know who it was. You don’t even have to think. For the fourth straight year, the Titans defeated their rival – Skyline. This year’s 27-9 victory was by the largest margin in the streak. It also helped erase a 0-3 start and earned Olympus a tie of the Region 7 crown.
            “I was pleasantly surprised,” is how coach Aaron Whitehead described the season. “They got better as it progressed. We had a senior class that provided great leadership. There’s a lot of pride in this place.”
            Olympus finished with a 6-5 overall record and was 4-1 in region. After dropping games to powers Sky View, Alta and Northridge to begin the year, the Titans came back to win six of their next seven games. They lost in the first round of the 4A playoffs to Highland.
            “I would have liked our chances if we would have beaten them (the Rams),” said Whitehead. “We could have taken that road and done some damage. We had a solid running game and played everyone tough.”
            The Titans came into the year picked to finish third in region. With just three returning starters, that seemed fair. On the bright side, Oly was able to practice on its home field (unlike most of last year) and could see its new school building progress.
            We had so much going against us experience wise,” said offensive lineman Will Christensen. “But we felt good about what we accomplished and we should have accomplished more.”
            The team earned its successes by committee. Christensen was the only first team all-state pick (Salt Lake Tribune) and Tanner Goates and Matt Steffenson were second-team selections. There were a lot of talented teams in 4A, with great athletes, and Olympus competed with its strong work ethic and never-give-up attitude.
            “We saw that from the start,” said Whitehead. “Even after we lost our first few games, we weren’t disappointed. We were seeing what we hoped. We just needed time for it to come together.”
            The Titans tied with Herriman and Skyline for the region championship. The “Senior Night” victory at home over the Eagles on a cold, rainy night was what almost every player felt was the high point.
            “Skyline was all-around our best game just because of the stage we were on during it,” said Jake Jones. “We really battled. Every sport we play Skyline in it’s always that much more important because of the rivalry.”
            Whitehead said Jones had a “monster game” against Skyline, rushing for 116 yards and 22 carries. Quarterback Corbin Anderson also played well.
            “Anderson looked like a senior leader that night,” said Whitehead. “He just kept improving and led two great comebacks near the end of the season.”
            Timpview ended up the 4A champions. The Thunderbirds and East were the dominant 4A teams. Herriman could have made the semifinals, but lost to East in the first round after the Leopards were penalized for using ineligible players and forced for forfeit four games. The Leopards were probably 4A’s second-best team.
            Jones was named Oly’s Most Valuable Player award at the team banquet. He teamed with Anthony Schoenfeld and Offensive MVP Coleman Meier to give the Titans a solid running attack. Jones led the Titans with 794 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Goates was the team’s Defensive MVP. In region play, Olympus gave up an average of 14.8 points per game. If you throw out the 42-9 loss at Herriman, the Titans allowed just one touchdown per game to region opponents.
            The loss to Highland that ended the year was disappointing, but it didn’t dampen Oly’s spirits.
            “It’s a good time to be here,” said Whitehead. “We’ve had four straight winning seasons and two region titles in a row. There’s a lot of character and the new building next year will be spectacular.”

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I am the author of Matchup, which provides yearbooks to high school sports teams, commemorating their seasons.