Sports

Trojans enter rebuilding mode

The talk at the school parallel to the Fairgrounds isn’t about winning the Narrows League Bridge Division.

Sure, league championships and state playoff berths are what all teams aspire for, but Olympic High coach Carlton Cooper knows better than to place lofty expectations on his team.

“We’re going to be really young,” said Cooper, who is entering his third year as head coach and his eighth year with the team. “We lost a lot of key guys and have a lot of sophomores.”

Gone are a pair of senior standouts from last year — quarterback Jeff Shaw and running back Jonell Hodge.

The quarterback reigns fall to another Jeff this year. Jeff Olson, that is.

“Shaw was great,” he said. “He taught me a lot of things. But I have my own qualities and I think I’ll be all right.”

Similar to Shaw, Olson also has the benefit of a senior running back — Byron Mosley.

“It’s pretty tough,” said Mosley, referring to replacing Hodge. “He was fast and devoted. You can’t replace a guy like him.”

One offensive concern appears to be the offensive line, where Mosley and Olson won’t enjoy the experience their predecessors had.

“We’ve always been small on the line,” Olson said.

The quarterback believes some shortcomings will be made up by an intense workout program.

“We’re well conditioned and faster than the other guys,” he said.

Defensively, the Trojans expect to be led by a talented defensive backfield. Mosley and junior Nick Bankus are expected to lead that unit.

“Our passing defense is great,” Mosley said. “We need to work on our run tackling.”

Cooper said Bankus, one of the Trojans’ best athletes, could fill many roles.

“He’s so versatile that we have to find a way to get him on the field,” he said.

Coming off a 4-6 season — 1-6 in league play — Mosley said the Trojans must remain confident throughout the season.

“The key for us is how fast we’re able to jell,” he said, adding that the team lost confidence last year.

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