Olympians Triumph in Home Opener

Patrick Balthrop Jr., Staff Writer

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As football season is finally upon us, the Mesa Olympians began the 2012 season with a solid victory versus the Los Angeles Southwest Cougars on September 1st at 6:00 pm for the season opener on their home field.

Since winning the 2008 American Mountain Conference Championship the Olympians have not had such success in their recent seasons. Rivals such as Grossmont College and Southwestern College are always tough competitors when attempting to win this conference.

After the Olympians were finally able to end their 16-year drought of winning against the Grossmont Griffins last season, the team is looking to continue their success against their most known rival. After an accomplishment such as beating Grossmont last season, the Olympians should be feeling confident going into the season that they could potentially build on that success and increase their win total from last year.

It took almost an entire quarter for the Olympians to warm up, however, in the last minute of the first quarter, freshman quarterback Joe Kennedy threw a deep touchdown pass down the middle of the field to sophomore wide receiver Stephen Sousa for the team’s first touchdown of the season. Once this team got going there was seemingly no answer to stopping their offense or defense. A definite stand out player on the Olympians offense was sophomore wide receiver Cruz Navarro. Mid-way through the second quarter the Olympians stretched the lead to 14 on an intriguing reverse play that completely opened up the left side of the field for Navarro to run freely to the end zone. After two quarters of play had been completed the Olympians had held a commanding 17-0 lead over their opponents and had to feel confident about their chances of sealing up a win in the season opener.

Although the Olympians appeared to have the momentum going into the second half, it was actually their opponents that came out of the locker room moving the ball effectively. As the Cougars were amidst a seemingly methodical drive, leading them all the way to the goal line, it was halted by the stingy defense of the Olympians. The team’s defense did not allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter when their opponents were finally able to get into the end zone.

A definite defensive standout for this defense was sophomore linebacker, Kris Kemper. Kemper proved to be a problem for the opposing offensive line as well as many others on this defense as they were able to bring down the quarterback and create interceptions that ultimately secured a victory. Late in the fourth quarter, after their opponents scored a touchdown and converted the two point conversion it appeared that the Olympians would have to tighten up one more time if they wanted to lock up a win.

When the team needed a stop late in the game to end the opponent’s momentum, they were able to take advantage of a flawed pass by the opposing quarterback by intercepting a pass that killed the Cougars hopes of a late game comeback.

The season has only begun and the sky is the limit for this team as they likely will only progress from here on out. The team’s next game is an away matchup at Grossmont as the team looks to improve their record to 2-0 for the season.