Showdown in the Suburbs: Highland Homecoming highlights Rival Olympus

by Daniel Olsen | Both the Rams and the Titans didn’t expect to be at 2-3 this season but here they are. No, this isn’t the LA Rams or the Tennessee Titans in the NFL. This is a Region 6 showdown between two great defensive teams at the 5A division in Utah.

While Olympus and Skyline have a storied rivalry with the winner taking home a trophy called “The Rock,” Coach Aaron Whitehead was clear that the rivalry between his Olympus Titans and the Highland Rams is also a very close competition every year. Most games are determined by one touchdown or less and both teams have great defenses.

Coach Whitehead is familiar with Highland Coach Brody Benson, and has been ever since his days coaching at East High. It will be all business on Friday night when the lights go up. This is an exciting game for the community as the schools are separated by about 3.5 miles.

Coach Whitehead was very clear about what his team needs to do to win this game. Many of his team’s losses have been within single digits.

“Our defense is solid and has led 5A,” said Coach Whitehead. “Our offense is not as good and our offensive line has been struggling. We noticed in film where we need to improve and are confident that we can make those adjustments.”

Olympus graduated a standout on the offensive line in Emerson Conlon. He is currently serving an LDS mission and will return in 2022 to play for the Utah State Aggies as a preferred walk-on. Part of the challenge this year is filling the void now that he’s not on the team.

This isn’t a year full of college talent for Olympus, but there are a couple guys getting looked at by scouts and plenty of other guys making a difference on the team.

“John Schlendorf came here from New Jersey,” said Coach Whitehead. “He is doing great for our return team and started getting looks from an FCS back east called Bucknell. Now the schools in state are starting to look at him.”

Schlendorf is an impressive athlete as his 4.56 40 yard dash time on his Twitter profile suggests. Coach Whitehead did joke that he can dunk an alley-oop with two hands in basketball. He also plays strong safety for the Titans.

There are other talented guys on the Olympus roster that will also make the difference between wins and losses like fullback Johnny Frank, defensive end Erik Pederson and halfback Peyton Rice.

This is a high stakes game that could determine standings in Region 6 of the 5A division in the state. While it is not as big of a rivalry as Olympus vs Skyline, these are two teams with losing records that would love to get back to .500.


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