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4A high school football preview: Highland at Olympus

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 8:35 a.m. MDT

Highland (6-4) at Olympus (6-4)

4A state tournament first round

Friday, 5 p.m.

Parry’s Power Guide: Highland by 12

All-time series: Highland leads 47-19

Coach vs. coach: Olympus’ Aaron Whitehad and Highland’s Brody Benson, tied 1-1 — both meetings occurred when Whitehead was at East in 2006 and 2007

Last meeting: Oct. 1, 2010 — Olympus 21, Highland 17

In the days leading up to hosting Highland High in their 4A playoff matchup, the Olympus Titans are bracing for a battle.

“Highland is a very, very good team. They are traditionally very physical, they play smack-you-in-the-mouth football,” said Olympus coach Aaron Whitehead. “And I don’t expect any different.”

The Rams, on the other hand, are working to prepare for the changing looks of the Titans.

“We are getting ready to face a tough Olympus team. They do a lot of things well, and they have a lot of different formations,” Highland coach Brody Benson said. “It’s hard to get a beat on what they are doing, run or throw. They keep you on your toes.”

When looking at the numbers, the Rams and Titans look quite similar. Both squads finished the season with an overall record of 6-4; they both averaged approximately 23 points per game on offense; and while the Highland defense allowed 16.1 points, the Titans gave up just slightly more with 17.7.

The Rams ultimately finished in the third-place slot in Region 6, and Olympus earned its place in a three-way tie for the Region 7 title.

“I am proud of this senior class,” Whitehead said of his team. “They won one game as sophomores, two games in JV, and this year they are region champs.”

The Titans’ only region loss — their only region loss in two years — was against co-champion Herriman. The Mustangs lost to Skyline, a team Olympus beat, to create the tie at the top of the standings.

“Our theory is if we are playing better competition, we will play better,” Whitehead said. “We are definitely seeing the fruits of that labor.”

Highland, meanwhile, is putting all of its attention on what is ahead rather than allowing the Region 6 commotion to stray focus.

“If we are focused on that,” Benson said, “then we’re not focusing on what we need to — and that’s Olympus.”

Namely, Titan quarterback Corbin Anderson.

“He is a good athlete,” Benson continued. “He throws well, he runs well, he’s dangerous.”

The Olympus run game is led by Jake Jones, who has so far accumulated 785 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. Tate Benson is the team’s leading receiver and has also recorded 60 tackles, one sack, and three interceptions. Tanner Goates leads the Titan defense with more than 70 tackles, 5.4 sacks and two interceptions.

The Rams will be depending on the play of junior running back Adam Webber, who has accumulated rushing yards, receiving yards and the second-highest total tackles for Highland.

“He has been solid all year,” Benson said. “In fact, he has been solid for three years. He has taken on a leadership role, and we will look to him on both sides of the ball.”

Senior Austin Peterson is the Rams’ quarterback and also leads the rushing attack with more than 600 yards on the ground, and Luti Nonu and Bryan Mone anchor the line on both offense and defense.

“We are excited to get it under way,” Benson said. “Hope we can earn another Monday.”

Highland statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 23.7 ppg

Scoring defense: 16.1 ppg

Passing leader: Austin Peterson (50-119, 42.0%, 873 yards, 5 TDs, 7 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Austin Peterson (18 carries, 619 yards, 6 TDs), Viliami Sekona (55 carries, 276 yards, 5 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Malcolm Card-Turner (27 rec., 516 yards, 4 TDs), Jerry Padilla (13 rec., 141 yards)

Tackles leaders: David Kocher (54 tackles), Adam Webber (46 tackles)

Sack leaders: Luti Nonu (3.5 sacks)

Interception leaders: David Kocher (5 INTs)

Olympus statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 23.3 ppg

Scoring defense: 17.7 ppg

Passing leader: Corbin Anderson (67-143, 46.9%, 829 yards, 6 TDs, 7 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Jake Jones (134 carries, 785 yards, 10 TDs), Coleman Meier (55 carries, 331 yards, 7 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Tate Benson (22 rec., 275 yards, 2 TDs), Connor Haller (10 rec., 137 yards, 1 TD)

Tackles leaders: Tanner Goates (72 tackles), Tate Benson (60 tackles)

Sack leaders: Jeff Faletoi (6.5 sacks), Tanner Goates (4.5 sacks)

Interception leaders: Tate Benson, Connor Haller (3 INTs)

Felts Facts for Highland High School

All-time record: 377-215-3 (56 years)

Region championships: 15 (1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1986, 1987, 1988 co, 1996, 1997, 2003 co, 2004 co, 2005 co, 2006 co, 2007 co, 2009)

Playoff appearances: 39 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 49-33

State championships: 5 (1959, 1961, 1963, 1989, 2010)

State championship record: 5-4

Felt’s Factoid(s): Highland holds the record for biggest comeback in state history. Down 28-0 to Bonneville in second quarter of a 1995 playoff game, Highland scored 31 straight points to win 31-28.

Felt’s Facts for Olympus High School

All-time record: 339-249-9 (60 years)

Region championships: 10 (1964, 1977, 1982, 1983, 1986, 1998, 2001 co, 2003 co, 2011, 2012 co)

Playoff appearances: 31 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 27-28

State championships: 2 (1984, 1998)

State championship record: 2-2

Felt’s Factoid(s): Olympus holds the championship-game record for most takeaways. The Titans revcovered four fumbles and intercepted seven passes (also a state title-game record) in capturing the 1984 Class 4A title over Alta.

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