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High school football: Olympus Titans 2018 preview

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Note: Olympus finished with a 4-6 overall record in 2017 and was fourth in Region 6 with a 2-3 record. It lost to Springville 28-14 in the 5A first round.

Olympus 2017 Offensive and Defensive Stats

HOLLADAY — From 2011 to 2016, Olympus' football team earned at least a share of five of six region titles. Last year the Titans were bumped from that perch, but getting back there is the goal again in 2018.

An exciting moment of the 2017 season was when Titans defensive end Cameron Latu signed with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Although the Titans lost a first-class player, 11 total returning starters will help fill the void.

"I'm very pleased with their attitude and I’m very pleased with the effort they've put into this," said head coach Aaron Whitehead of the returning starters. "We're expecting success and good leadership."

Key returning players include Noah Bennee (WR), Jack Hollberg (RB) and Isaac Wilcox (LB). Bennee had a total of 512 yards, five touchdowns and 73 tackles while Hollberg ran 359 yards for five touchdowns. Wilcox led the team with 50 carries for 359 yards.

Bennee, standing 6-foot-5, brings versatility to the team as the starting wide receiver and free safety. Wilcox's athleticism and wrestling background will put him at the front of the linebacker corps.

"He's probably one of the fastest and toughest kids we have. We played him on the D-line last year," said defensive coordinator Brandon Burt of Wilcox. "He's the toughest guy in town in my opinion with his wrestling background and we're gonna put him in spots that will help us win."

The team's starting quarterback will most likely be Jackson Frank, who played defensive back last year and will be switched to offense for his senior season.

Olympus will kick off the season against Cottonwood on Aug. 17.

Titans at a glance

Coach: Head coach Aaron Whitehead is entering his eighth year at the helm where he acts both as the head coach and offensive coordinator. He has led Olympus to four region championships (2011-2013, 2015) as head coach.

Olympus Offensive Snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Aaron Whitehead

2017 offensive production: 30.9 ppg (8th in 5A)

  • 7 returning starters
  • Wing-T

Key offensive returning starters

Noah Bennee (WR, FS)

Benne, the lengthy wide receiver, will be a key offensive piece for the Titans going into his senior season. He logged 28 receptions for a total of 512 yards as the starting wide receiver as a junior. He also secured five touchdowns for the Titans. Defensively, Benne recorded 73 tackles and one interception.

Tommy Poulton (RB)

As Poulton heads into his senior season with the Titans, he will likely be the team’s backup running back to Hollberg after recording 23 carries for 129 yards in the 2017 season. He also recorded five receptions for one touchdown.

Jack Hollberg (RB)

Hollberg should be a force after logging 50 carries for 359 yards in the 2017 season. Hollberg tied Benne by scoring five touchdowns, making the duo the highest scoring players on the team.

Returning offensive starters

  • Noah Bennee (WR, FS)
  • Tommy Poulton (RB)
  • Jack Hollberg (RB)
  • Josh Mondale (OL, DL)
  • Malosi Neria (OL)
  • Emerson Conlan (OL)
  • Lucas Spillet (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

  • Jackson Frank (QB)
  • Scotty Edwards (RB, FS)

Coach Whitehead comments on returning offensive leadership:

We have several returning starters — four offensive linemen who are returning. This is a good group — they’re quiet leaders. This is a group that puts in a lot of time in the summer.”

Coach Whitehead comments on Noah Bennee:

He’s a special player. He’s very gifted. He’s going to be a strong weapon for us on both sides of the ball. He has great control of his body, especially when it’s in the air. Just one of those special athletes you get now and again and we’re very excited to have him. He was a strong playmaker for us last year as a junior and he’s going to do great things for us this year.”

Coach Whitehead comments on the seven returning offensive starters:

We have leadership of course. That’s a really good benefit... Anytime you have a returning starter you have people who are experienced playing at the varsity level and then going into the game situation... Sure they’ll have butterflies but they have the experience to where it’s not new to them. It’s always a benefit to have guys return.”

Key for Offensive Success in 2018:

The key for offensive success this season are being able to consistently put points on the board.

Olympus Defensive Snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Brandon Burt

2017 defensive production: 29.1 ppg (14th in 5A)

  • 6 returning starters
  • Event front

Key defensive returning starters

Isaac Wilcox (LB)

Wilcox had a monster of a season in 2017, recording 49 tackles and three sacks. He will most likely be the starting linebacker for the Titans during his senior season and will be expected to record high stats.

Noah Bennee (FS)

Bennee thrives both offensively and defensively, recording 73 tackles during the 2017 season. Expect to see him all over the field this season as a key player for the Titans.

Returning defensive starters

  • Isaac Wilcox (LB)
  • Noah Bennee (WR, FS)
  • Uriah Te’o (DL)
  • Jackson Frank (DB)
  • Tommy Poulton (DB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Coach Burt comments on returning defensive leadership:

“We’ve got Noah Bennee at free safety. He is an all-state candidate. He started last year at free safety for us and we have Isaac Wilcox as a returning linebacker. He was an all-state championship wrestler. We’ve got good team speed, we’ve got good leadership coming back... We’re not overly big so we’re going to have to rely on team speed and toughness. But I would say Noah and Isaac Wilcox and Mac Wolfenbarger will be our middle linebacker so those will be the three guys we rely on as far as leadership.”

Coach Burt comments on Jack Hollberg:

Jack Hollberg is a real gamer. He’s a basketball, baseball and football kid so he really knows how to adjust the game. We really rely on him a lot. He had a lot of offensive success last year so we weren’t really allowed to use him much on defense but we will be allowed to use him this year.”

Coach Burt comments on the team's goal:

Overall, we want to challenge for a region title and get a home playoff game and try to advance in the playoffs. If we have a typical Olympus team, it’ll be fast and tough. Not a lot of size but I think we can compete for a region championship — that’ll be our first goal.”

Keys for Defensive Success in 2018:

The biggest key will be not allowing other 5A teams to run big plays on offense. Olympus must find a way to limit plays that are 40 yards or more to be a playoff contender.

Coaches preseason Region 6 straw poll: 3

Deseret News Region 6 prediction: 2

Key Region Game: vs. Skyline, Oct. 11 (Week 9)

Bottom line: Olympus will be a tough team to beat this season with strong returning starters that will provide leadership and depth. Expect to see them in the playoffs this year.

2018 Schedule

  • Aug. 17 — COTTONWOOD, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 24 — GRANGER, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 31 — at Brighton, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 7 — at Kearns, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 — WEST, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 21 — LEHI, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 28 — at Highland, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 5 — at Murray, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 — SKYLINE, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 17 — at Layton, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts for Olympus

All-time record: 372-271-9 (65 years)

Region championships: 12 (1964, 1977, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1998, 2001 co, 2003-co, 2011, 2012-co, 2013-co, 2015, 2016)

Playoff appearances: 35

Current playoff appearance streak: 3 (2015-2017)

All-time playoff record: 29-33

State championships: 2 (1984, 1998)

State championship record: 2-2

Most played rivalry: 53 meetings with East dating back to 1955. Olympus leads 27-24-2.

Felt’s Factoids: Olympus holds the championship-game record for most takeaways. The Titans intercepted seven passes, returning three of them for TDs (both state title-game records), and recovered four fumbled in capturing the 1984 Class 4A title over Alta. In the same game, Nate Marshall set the state championship game record for opponent’s fumbles recovered with four.

...

Last 5

  • 2017 — 4-6 (2-3 in Region 6 – 5A First round)
  • 2016 — 8-3 (5-0 in Region 6 – 4A First round)
  • 2015 — 7-4 (5-0 in Region 6 – 4A First round)
  • 2014 — 5-6 (2-4 in Region 7 -- Missed playoffs)
  • 2013 — 10-2 (5-1 in Region 7 – 4A Semifinals)

….

Olympus coaching history

  • 2011-current — Aaron Whitehead (48-28)
  • 2009-2010 — Mike Smith (14-7)
  • 2004-2008 — Mark Smith (17-34)
  • 1998-2003 — Mike Miller (48-20)
  • 1991-1997 — Tom Larson (42-20)
  • 1985-1990 — Marc Lyons (33-29)
  • 1974-1984 — Louie Long (76-37)
  • 1971-1973 — Wayne Startin (16-11-1)
  • 1967-1970 — John Christopulos (12-25-1)
  • 1964-1966 — Ron Startin (16-9-2)
  • 1956-1963 — Gil Meier (34-28-5)
  • 1954-1955 — Bill Green (7-10)
  • 1953 — Don Dixon (5-3)

.....

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2016 — Ben Bywater, OLB
  • 2015 — Quinn Meier, RB
  • 2013 — Coleman Meier, RB
  • 2013 — Connor Haller, DB
  • 2011 — Scott Porter, QB
  • 2011 — Nate Watchman, OL
  • 2010 — Sam Williams, DB
  • 2009 — Ryan Reynolds, OL

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated how many region titles Olympus has won in recent years.