Olympus Titans Aim for a Comeback Year
Aug 25, 2016 12:10PM ● Published by Sarah Almond
Titans work on perfecting their blocking technique during an afternoon practice. By focusing on proper blocking and tackling techniques, players are less likely to suffer a head or neck injury.—Sarah Almond
Gallery: Olympus Football [1 Image] Click any image to expand.
For many, shorter days, school bells and changing leaves indicate that fall is officially upon us. For the Olympus High School football team, however, these long-anticipated icons indicate one thing: it’s game time.
“Our talent level is great this year,” Head Coach Aaron Whitehead said. “This is a group where a lot of leaders have stepped up. Even if I wasn’t there in the offseason they were still stepping up. They are self-starters; you give them a task and they take it to town and do great things.”
The team of 95 players is split between varsity and junior varsity groups, but Olympus’ reputation for being a strong, unified team hasn’t faltered.
“We have a really tight team this year,” senior captain Tyler Smith said. “I think we all play really well with each other and we always have each other’s backs. We’re very unselfish and I think that plays well for us on the field.”
As head coach of the Titans for six years, Whitehead is continually impressed with players that come out for the team.
“I’m very fortunate to work with good kids — I always have been and it’s what makes this job a lot of fun,” Whitehead said. “We’ve got great coaches and great kids.”
After a devastating loss in the first round of the 2015 region playoffs, the group is determined to have a comeback year and make it far in the state tournament. The Titans have been training throughout the summer to get in shape for the upcoming season by hitting the weight room several times a week, completing two-a-day practices and working hard through mid-summer pad camp.
“We’ve got great talent, but we still need to develop some kids,” Whitehead said. “We are deep in all skill positions; on our offensive line we have great kids all the way around, we just need to develop some depth there. And that’s the same problem we have every year.”
To prepare themselves for region games and the playoff season, the Titans seek out some of the toughest preseason competition in the area. This year’s lineup consists of teams like Cottonwood High School, Highland, Davis and North Ridge.
“The hope is that after playing at a high level of competition, we’ll continue to play at that level,” Whitehead said. “The other hope is that we stay healthy. If we can stay healthy, it will be a great thing.”
Thankfully, Olympus has the resources to boost a healthy, injury-free season. By partnering with Intermountain’s TOSH —The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital — the Titans have immediate access to athletic trainers who work to combat and prevent players’ injuries.
“It’s great to have stuff assessed and dealt with right away,” Whitehead said. “TOSH is invaluable to us.”
While injury prevention is important to the players and coaching staff, putting in the training and practice to ensure a region championship title is the team’s ultimate goal.
“We have been working hard all offseason and are excited to put all of our hard work to the test,” senior co-captain Ben Bywater said. “Our whole team has a really positive, determined mindset this year and I’m excited to see it pay off.”
Though the team is facing a challenging schedule this season, Whitehead believes their eagerness for success and passion for the sport of football will result in an exciting and satisfying season.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm with this group,” Whitehead said. “Even after two weeks of practice and two-a-days, these guys aren’t dragging. They can’t wait for Friday nights.”
The Titans plays their last regular-season home game against rival team Skyline on Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.