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High school football: Olympus Titans 2013 preview

Published: Friday, Aug. 9 2013 2:05 a.m. MDT

Connor Howler talks the 2013 football season with the Deseret News

Note: Olympus finished with a 6-5 overall record in 2012 and tied for first in Region 7 with a 4-1 record. It lost to Highland 20-14 in the first round of the 4A tournament.

SALT LAKE CITY — Olympus has been under the direction of Aaron Whitehead for two years. Now, two weeks away from the 2013 season, the Titans are attempting to become the first team in school history to win three consecutive region championships.

“The last two years we spent so much time trying to implement our offense,” Whitehead said. “Now (that we’ve) got two years behind us, we’re further along this year than we have been. I think there are some things that are a benefit to us, but the problem is kind of that unknown.”

Following realignment the Titans are floating in uncharted waters. Orem, Mountain View, Timpanogos and first-year program Corner Canyon are now shacking up in Region 7 with Olympus, Murray and Skyline.

“There aren’t many that we’re picking up in our region that are going to be simple or easy. Mountain View is up from last year. Timpanogos — Ed Larson does a great job,” Whitehead said. “Orem, I think, is the region favorite and Corner Canyon is the wild card. I truly believe they’re going to be in the fight — they have all this athletic ability coming in from Alta and Juan Diego. I just don’t see Corner Canyon being a typical first-year school.

“We know what we’re going to get with Skyline. They’re going to be tough. They’re a rival. They want more than anything to beat Olympus. We understand that,” Whitehead continued. “We know what we’re going to get from Murray. These new teams in the region we have no idea. It’s hard to gauge. You’d prefer to have the ones you know rather than trying to figure out these guys that you have no idea.”

Unlike last season, however, Olympus isn’t allotting valuable time toward figuring out how to replace basically its entire production on both sides of the ball.

“We do have 11 returning starters on a team that tied for region last year, and a lot of those are key positions,” Whitehead said. “I think we have a chance to compete for that. It’s not going to be as easy as it was the past two years.”

The Titans managed to fight for a co-region championship despite uncertainty last season. Considering that Whitehead believes his team's biggest area of concern is the last position anyone associates with football — kicker — and Olympus seems to be in great shape this summer.

“We need to figure out who our kicker is going to be,” Whitehead said seriously when asked what the glaring weakness is. “We have a couple soccer kids that have come out and one can kick it into the end zone each time, but we need to find someone who is consistent putting it through the goalpost. Otherwise we’re going to go for two quite a bit if we have that opportunity.

“You know, shoot, I guess I should learn their names and quit calling them kicker — maybe they’ll stick around more,” Whitehead said — not seriously.

Olympus Titans at a glance

Coach: Aaron Whitehead has tallied a 15-7 record in two years with the Titans and maintains a 53-31 overall record in seven years of coaching. He’s a graduate of Skyline High and the University of Utah.

Offense

(4 returning starters; spread offense)

Last offseason Olympus was in the midst of a battle to determine the starting quarterback with six candidates. Thankfully that number has dwindled down to two in 2013: senior Chase Manning and junior Zack Hodgson.

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