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Will Pannier

There are many teams which hope to enjoy a breakout season this fall. In the case of Olympus, the Titans figure that climbing up the Region 6 ladder isn't an improbable daydream. It has become an expectation.

That's because, this year, Olympus finally appears to possess enough tools to effectively power a spread offense Mark Smith installed when he first took over as head coach.

The Titans enjoy plenty of depth at receiver this fall — a crucial element in a scheme requiring four or five wide receiver sets to effectively accumulate yards and points in rapid fashion.

"It helps when you have enough depth at receiver that you can rotate guys and you don't feel like you're losing anything," Smith said. "I feel the strength of our team this year is our receiving core."

Among the receivers Smith expects great things from are sophomore Carter Young and senior Spencer Hille. Young started as a slot receiver as a freshman. Hille is a newcomer to football, but has enough size and gifted hands to make him a natural fit in the offense.

Olympus should benefit from having Hille in particular, given how well he has performed for the Titans on the basketball court. His teammates, who finally convinced Hille to try out for the football team earlier this summer, think he'll add a new dimension to the team's spread attack.

"He's big," senior safety Aaron Hanson said. "He's going to mow kids over."

The question of who will toss the ball to the likes of Hille and Young isn't quite settled. Lance McGavin, a senior, and junior Spencer Harris have battled it out at the quarterback position through the summer and into two-a-days.

Regardless of who ends up lining up behind center on Friday nights, the Titans feel confident their offense will finally be the thorn in a defense's side the way it is designed to be.

Virtually every player on the Olympus roster has worked with the same spread offense from little league to the junior varsity level. They feel confident they have mastered it and can finally unleash its full potential after being exposed to it for so many years.

"You adapt to it and you can learn it," senior linebacker Will Pannier said. "It's easier to make the reads and stuff. Instead of having one year of it, you know it through three or four years of practice."

It is that expertise in the spread that has the Titans thinking and hoping this could be the year where they break into Region 6's upper tier.

Generating more points will be a key to their rise. Offense turned out not to be one of the team's stronger areas a year ago when Olympus generated a mere 13.2 points per game while allowing 22.2 during the same 10-game span.

Olympus Titans 2008 Prep Football Preview

COACH: Mark Smith has experienced his share of ups and downs since taking over for Mike Miller five years ago. During that time, he has led Olympus to three playoff appearances, but compiled a 17-27 overall record.

KEY PLAYERS: For the first time in a few seasons, Olympus has depth at a few key positions. The crop of receivers is plentiful with Carter Young (WR), Maurice Maxwell (WR) and Spencer Hille (WR) leading the way. O.J. Visser (RB), one of the team's strongest players, will see many carries in the backfield. Either Lance McGavin (QB) or Spencer Harris (QB/WR) can run the offense. Anchoring the defensive side are team captains Aaron Hanson (DB) and Will Pannier (LB).

QUESTION MARK: For the first time, Smith is now working with players who know only his spread offense. Will that translate to more yards and points and more victories? If not, can the defense make up the difference to make the Titans more competitive?

LAST YEAR: 2-8, missed the playoffs.

PREDICTED REGION 6 FINISH: Fifth (Tie)

POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: Olympus has plenty of depth at the right positions to make its spread offense work on paper. Getting results on the field may be a little tougher in a loaded Region 6. Still, the Titans should be vastly improved over a year ago. If the offense is as explosive as they anticipate, one of the last playoff spots in the region could belong to them.

2008 SCHEDULE

Aug 22—Hillcrest, 7 p.m.

Aug 29—at Payson, 7 p.m.

Sept 5—West Jordan, 7 p.m.

Sept 12—Cyprus, 7 p.m.

Sept 19—at West, 7 p.m.

Sept 26—Highland, 7 p.m.

Oct 3—at East, 7 p.m.

Oct 10—Granger, 7 p.m.

Oct 15—at Murray, 7 p.m.

Oct 23—at Cottonwood, 7 p.m.


E-mail: jcoon@desnews.com