2005 Preview: Trojans hope confidence, pride can turn season around

The Olympic Trojans football squad just got a kick in the pants.

New head coach Eric Allen, set on changing the attitude of Olympic’s football program, has yelled at his guys. He’s dished out penalties for team infractions. He’s made it perfectly clear that accepting defeat is unacceptable.

But most importantly, he has the Trojans believing in themselves.

“The big thing I’m trying to change is the complacency,” Allen, in his first year with Oly, said. “These guys are used to being satisfied when they win three or four ball games. To have a winning program, you can’t do that.”

Allen takes over an Olympic team that finished just 3-7 last year, 1-7 in the Narrows League Bridge Division. Gone are former head coach Carlton Cooper, first team All-Narrows League lineman Terrence Simmons and All-NL defensive back Reagan Logova, also one of the team’s top running threats. Gone is All-Narrows second-teamer, linebacker AJ Weber.

But with the strong, albeit inexperienced group that Allen has at his command, it may not be long before the Trojans start to make a rise up the Bridge Division standings.

“We have a very good group of kids,” Allen said. “Our sophomore group is going to be very good. And we’ve got some big kids. But we’re going to be real young. We’ll only have five returning starters on both sides.”

Among the key returners will be linemen Kevin Siperek and Brandon Bermea. With several large sophomores, Siperek, Bermea and fellow returner Jon Quinn will be counted on to supply leadership in the trenches. Other key returners for Olympic this season will be Nick Bankus, who Allen said would not be joining the team until at least the third or fourth week of the season due to ski competitions. Jimmy Groat, Colin Barrett, Ben Flint and Vic Chatman will all play key roles as well.

In terms of his returners, Allen said for the most part, guys are buying into his mentality, which also makes sure the student-athletes remain just that, students first.

“It’s getting there,” Allen said. “I think most understand that I’m sincere in what I’m doing. They understand I’m doing this for the right reasons. Once they believe that and understand that, there’s not much they won’t do. So I feel good about that part of it.”

Add that to a strong sophomore class that Allen said will be given the chance to play right away, and the Trojans future could be looking up. Included in that sophomore group is Eric Gratz and Chris Lane, one of whom will take the Trojans’ first snap of the season Friday at Silverdale Stadium against Mt. Tahoma. Other key newbies include Rashad Greene, Ross Pain, Taylor Smith, Zach Churchley-Gibbs and David Reynolds.

“It’s nice for the future,” Allen said of his large sophomore class. “For this year, it’s going to make it difficult. But the first couple of years is not about winning. Nobody likes to lose, but it’s about having to make a commitment to something and finishing it.”

While the sophomores are still making the adjustment to the high school level, it’s one Allen said they’ll need to make sooner than later.

“Right now the kids are working as hard as I can ask them to,” Allen said. “They’re still learning what it’s like to work through pain, the heat. But they’ve got to learn to

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