Cougars, Trojans secure playoff berths

Olympic High School football players hold up a cake as they celebrate their playoff-clinching 40-19 victory against Port Angeles Friday at Silverdale Stadium. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Olympic High School football players hold up a cake as they celebrate their playoff-clinching 40-19 victory against Port Angeles Friday at Silverdale Stadium.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

On Friday night, Olympic got to have its cake and eat it too.

Per their postgame tradition, the Trojans’ football squad has a cake ready for the victor of each game they play, whether it’s them or not.

But Friday’s cake was a little sweeter.

Olympic beat up on visiting Port Angeles 40-19 to secure the school’s first postseason berth since the 1999 season, when Oly finished 5-2 in Narrows League Bridge Division play.

“That was fun,” Olympic coach Eric Allen said. “I expected it to be fun.”

“Oly hasn’t done anything like this in a long time,” senior lineman David Reynolds said. “It’s great.”

The Trojans used the ground game to overcome the Roughriders’ defense, but it was Oly’s own ‘D’ that got the job done, all part of adjustments keyed up by Trojan defensive coordinator Tim Allbee.

“Coach Allbee came up with a scheme that obviously worked,” Allen said. “We just wanted to let the kids play. That was part of coach Allbee’s plan, to kind of back off and bring a little pressure. That’s something you have to do.”

It worked.

After the two teams combined for 100 points in the Trojans’ 62-38 road win on Sept. 21, Allen knew much like his team, PA would come out with some adjustments.

“I knew that wasn’t gonna happen again,” he said.

But what did was a display of defensive dominance by Olympic.

While Port Angeles did rack up 344 yards through the air on a 23-34 effort from quarterback Eric Lane, rushing in two more scores, most of the damage came in the fourth quarter against a group comprised mostly of Oly’s second-teamers, including both rushing scores.

Otherwise, the Trojans starting unit recorded five sacks and two fumble recoveries in the win.

Making it even sweeter, however, was the fact the performance, and the playoff lock, came on homecoming.

“That’s high school football they just witnessed,” Allen said. “A sold out stadium, the band playing, the cheer leaders cheering. I’m just so glad for them.”

Offensively, Dixon had 121 yards on 16 carries, scoring the game’s second touchdown in the first quarter. Senior Rashad Greene was unstoppable on the goal line, finishing with 59 yards and three touchdowns, all 1-yarders. Nollan Quinn recorded 35 yards on six carries and Tao Smith added 41 more yards on just four carries.

“Our second string running backs are first-teamers on a lot of teams,” Allen said.

Quarterback Zach Bird had a strong game as well, connecting on 4-of-6 pass attempts for 70 yards, including a 37-yard scoring strike to Blake Johnson to put Oly up 34-0 at the half.

“It was a team effort,” Bird, who also ran for 23 yards and a score, said. “It felt so good.”

Now that the team has locked up a berth, the Trojans need to win out and have Peninsula drop a game to secure the Olympic League title.

In the first meeting between the two teams on Oct. 4, the Seahawks led 21-2 before Olympic stormed back to a 27-21 win.

The two teams play each other again on Oct. 26 in Purdy, but Allen said his team isn’t going to focus on anything aside from its next game, a road trip to Bremerton this Friday at Memorial Stadium.

“Our work’s not done,” Allen said. “Our game against Bremerton — every game now gets bigger. Bremerton is just as important a game as this. Our kids already know that.”

Bird agreed, saying the team would enjoy the big win, but would get right back to work this week.

“It was a big game. We’re really excited,” Bird said. “But we still have two more games. We’ve just got to keep working hard. Just one game at a time.”

And while the win on homecoming was nice, it was the overall atmosphere that Allen said he enjoyed most.

“People don’t realize. They really don’t,” Allen said. “What these kids are able to experience though high school football — it’s America. You can’t experience it any other way.”

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