High school football: Olympus stymies Skyline to keep the Rock for the 4th straight year

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SALT LAKE CITY — Olympus football coach Aaron Whitehead grew up within walking distance of Skyline High School. He grew up in the neighborhood, graduated from the school and admits he’ll always be a fan.

But in his 11 years leading the Titans, he has not been kind to the Eagles.

Whitehead returned to his alma mater again Friday night and won for the ninth time as Seth Roberts threw for three touchdowns and ran for another to help Olympus trounce its rivals 27-7 and forge a three-way tie for second place in the Region 6 standings.

“It’s not me; it’s the kids,” said Whitehead. “We had a lot of energy on the sidelines and they just fed off of it. It was fun. We’ve had a lot of adversity this season, and it’s great to end it (the regular season) like this … with some momentum.”

The momentum will continue through the next few days when the Titans’ student body celebrates keeping the school’s rivalry trophy — the Rock — and again repaints it green and silver at its school assembly. Olympus has had the rock in its trophy case since 2018.

Whitehead said he hopes the convincing win will boost the Titans’ RPI enough to give them a home game when the 5A state playoffs begin next week. He said Olympus has had as many as 19 players sidelined at a time due to injuries and lost three straight games near midseason, but may now be peaking for the playoffs.

Roberts led the way Friday. The senior quarterback had his best game of the season, throwing for 251 yards, and had all three of his touchdown throws in the first quarter.

The first one was the most memorable. On the Titans’ opening drive, Roberts tossed a short pass to Nick Green, who pitched to Samuel Bodily, which resulted in a successful hook-and-lateral touchdown.

Two minutes later, Roberts found Anthony Olsen open on for a 24-yard touchdown play, and the Titans built the lead to 21-0 when Roberts and Charlie Sherwood connected on a 42-yard score.

“Roberts was just magical tonight,” Whitehead said.

Roberts’ magical night continued when he dove into the end zone midway through the second half to extend the lead to 27-0, and Skyline didn’t have an answer.

The Eagles, who won six of seven games after a disastrous start to the season, returned the second-half kickoff 72 yards but the next three plays netted zero yards, and their fourth-down pass was intercepted by Olympus’ Josh Peterson.

Skyline’s offense had its moments, but couldn’t find any consistency as coach John Rowbotham used three quarterbacks to find some momentum. The Eagles finally scored in the closing minutes when Andrew Rasmussen hit Austin Okerwa, who reeled in his 11th touchdown catch of the season.

The Eagles, Titans and Park City Miners finished tied for second place in Region 6 behind Brighton and now await their fate as the UHSAA prepares to reveal the state’s RPI rankings and subsequent playoff pairings on Saturday.

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