Fri, Sep 02 2011 12:48 AM Posted By: Phillip Brents
The Olympian Eagles had a season to dream about heading into the 2010 San Diego Section Division IV semifinals. The Eagles sported a 10-1 record — 9-1 during the regular season, including the inaugural Metro-Pacific League championship, and 1-0 in post-season competition following a quarterfinal-round 40-21 playoff victory against visiting Brawley.
But all the wheels came off for second-seeded Olympian against third-seeded Madison in the game to decide which team advanced to the division championship game at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Eagles had battled a rash of injuries the entire second half of the season and, while the team had still somehow managed to produce results on the field despite its increasingly short-handed nature, everything seemed to come crashing down on the team in that semifinal game.
Madison won, 48-7, to advance to the finals where the Warhawks promptly upset top-seeded Valley Center 40-14.
Asante Gibson was among the Olympian players sidelined for most of last season after suffering a broken leg in an Oct. 1 game against Madison. He is back mended and motivated to lead the Eagles into uncharted territory — a move up to the Metro Conference’s showcase pigskin circuit, the Mesa League.
“I think Asante has something to prove this year,” veteran Olympian coach Gil Warren said. “I think having him back is going to be an inspiration to the whole team.”
The Eagles expect to put on a good show this season after finishing runner-up to La Jolla in July’s Chula Vista Spartan passing tournament. Olympian finished 3-0 in round-robin play with victories against Francis Parker (26-11), Mater Dei Catholic (27-16) and Castle Park (22-21).
La Jolla finished 2-0-1 with a 15-11 victory against Montgomery, a 35-25 win over Bonita Vista and a 23-23 tie against Chula Vista to advance to the championship game.
La Jolla pulled out a surprising 24-21 victory over the Eagles to close out the day.
Olympian won last year’s CVHS passing tournament.
Warren said summer passing tournaments serve a key purpose in the early stages of preseason training camps.
“It brings the kids together,” the OHS coach said. “We get a little bit of throwing in and our defense gets to see the ball. We work on fundamentals. We want to try to pass the ball even though we’re still primarily a running team.”
The Eagles definitely could run and pass the ball last season under the direction of quarterback Cobrin Humphrey, now at Menlo College.
Humphrey was among 16 Metro Conference players selected to play in July’s Alex Spanos All-Star Classic at Mesa College. Humphrey led the South team to a 27-7 victory by throwing for two touchdowns.
Humphrey finished the 2010 season with 1,083 passing yards while sharing the Metro-Pacific League Offensive Player of the Year award with Montgomery’s Diego Rodriguez.
Taking over behind center is Christopher Humphrey, Cobrin’s younger brother and a twin brother of the tight end Christian Humphrey.
Warren is not putting any pressure on his newcomer QB.
“Our young quarterback is getting better all the time,” Warren said. “I think we have some pretty good combinations.”
Other key offensive players this season include center Ramiro Ramriez, first team all-league guard Kyle Norton, wide receiver Akeem Foxworth, running back/receiver Ricky Standard and Gibson and Ian Autman in the backfield.
The Eagles also pride themselves on defense and there should be no shortage of that this season. Team leaders include Santana Leomiti (linebacker), Gibson (safety), Kevin Ehm (safety), Andrell Snowden (cornerback), Arturo Cuevas Jr. (linebacker), Luciano Paredes (defensive back) and Devon Flores (linebacker).
Cuevas and Flores are both returning all-league performers while Leomiti and Gibson both rate as Division I college recruits.
Besides moving up to Mesa League play this season, the Eagles also will be moving up to the Division III playoff division after spending the last three years at the Division IV level. Olympian got its varsity launch as a Division V school in 2007.
In league play alone, the Eagles will take on three Division I schools (Chula Vista, Eastlake and Otay Ranch) and one Division II school (Bonita Vista).
In short, Olympian will be facing a very challenging schedule — perhaps the toughest in the entire section.
Olympian’s first four games are against teams with potential state rankings.
Olympian kicks off its season with a Sept. 9 home game against Paraclete from Lancaster, the defending Southern Section champions. The Spirits finished 13-1 last season.
The Eagles then take flight to Torrey Pines, a semifinalist in last year’s Division I playoffs, on Sept. 16 and host four-time defending Division III champion Cathedral Catholic on Sept. 23.
Olympian gets a rematch against Madison Sept. 30 on the Warhawks’ field before hosting Sweetwater Oct. 7 and Del Norte Oct. 14 in back-to-back home games.
Because of its opening bye week, the Eagles will be among a handful of section teams that play 10 consecutive games heading into the playoffs.
Olympian kicks off Metro-Mesa League play with an Oct. 21 game at Otay Ranch, followed by an Oct. 28 home game against Chula Vista, a Nov. 4 road game at Eastlake and a Nov. 10 home game against Bonita Vista.
The Eagles showed they can hold their own against larger enrollment schools by defeating Bonita Vista, 23-21, last season.
“We play Division I, Division II and Division III teams — it’s more difficult this year,” Warren said. “But being a smaller school playing much larger schools can help us in the playoffs if we can stay healthy. We’re going to be tested in those early games. How we come out record-wise is anyone’s guess.”
Battle-tested the Eagles should be. But battle-worn Warren hopes the team will not be. “We have to be ready, play hard in every game and hope for the best,” he said.
Olympian Eagles 2011 Schedule
9: Lancaster Paraclete at Olympian
16: Olympian at Torrey Pines
23: Cathedral Catholic
30: Olympian at Madison
7: Sweetwater at Olympian
14: Del Norte at Olympian
21: Olympian at Otay Ranch
28: Chula Vista at Olympian
4: Olympian at Eastlake
10: Bonita Vista at Olympian
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