Unsung Heroes: Analy’s Issak Olsen

Editor’s note: The Press Democrat will spotlight a player from each Empire football team selected for the North Coast Section playoffs. Not every player is a star, but the contributions of each of these players are crucial to their teams’ success. Each was nominated by his coach.

ANALY
Issak Olsen

Analy wide receiver/tight end Issak Olsen (PD photo).

Senior WR/TE

Notable: Olsen didn’t start playing football until his sophomore year, but has been a quick study. He was second-team all-SCL last season, and this year showed his versatility by playing wing back, tight end and slot back. He’s smart (4.33 grade point average), has a great attitude and is one of the most popular players with his teammates.

A CONVERSATION WITH ISSAK OLSEN

PD: You have a 4.33 GPA. How do you maintain that while playing football?
Olsen: I have just constantly been putting in the extra work in all of my classes, going to the tutorials for the hard academic, AP and honors classes. It has really just been getting the stuff done as soon as I get home from football. I have had a lot of late nights this season. I live in Rohnert Park, so it takes 20 minutes just to get home, then I have to have all of my stuff ready. Usually the night before a test I have to pull some late-night studying.

PD: How have you dealt with playing wing back, tight end and slot back?
Olsen: At first it was difficult during the games, but now I have gotten used to it and it is just part of what I do on the football field. It’s weird not to be on the field. Last year was only my second year playing football and he threw me in at all these different positions, so I pretty much had to learn every play in the playbook.

PD: What makes you so versatile?
Olsen: I think that there is some athletic ability there, but I think that it is mainly the fact that I understand the concepts and I understand what is trying to be done on each play, so it allows me to go out there and do what the coach wants me to do.

PD: What can you tell us about your season as a team this year?
Olsen: This season, we had high hopes going into it and it was a little disappointing going 5-6, but I thought our defense did really well. I wish that our offense could have produced a little bit more, but what can you do?

PD: What did you need to do to win vs. Miramonte on Friday that you might not have done (Analy lost 17-3 to Miramonte)?
Olsen: We just needed to make plays on offense. Our defense held them to just three points until six minutes left in the game and if we could have capitalized on some of our drives on offense, the outcome would have been totally different.

PD: Your coach said that you were one of the most well-liked people on the team. How did you gain that respect?
Olsen: Mainly it was just going out and going hard on every single play at practice and not being serious all the time, but keeping it light, telling jokes a lot and getting some practical jokes in there.

PD: You started playing football as a sophomore. What caused that decision?
Olsen: Mainly, I just wanted to go out there and hit people in pads. I have been wanting to play ever since middle school and we played pickup games in the lot, but I never got around to it until sophomore year.

PD: Is there anything that you might do differently, given the opportunity, with regard to your athletic career?
Olsen: I would try to go to more athletic camps and try and get out there and play in more games and get more football in before the end of the season.

— Jonathan Pierce, for The Press Democrat