Former Colfax High receiver to play at SOU

Mike Olson is headed to Southern Oregon University
By: Mike Ray, Colfax Record Sports Editor
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Mike Olson is proof that sometimes big things come in small packages. And if things go as planned this Fall, Olson will get a chance to prove that speed, quickness and determination can sometimes go along way in a quest to play college football. “I think it’s a good fit for me up here,” said Olson. “We’re going to run a spread offense and that’s what I’ve been in the last two years.” That Olson, a 2007 Colfax High graduate, will play football at Southern Oregon University in Ashland this season is a story in itself since the ex-Falcon star came out of high school has a baseball player. But after playing one baseball season on scholarship at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Oregon, Olson had a hankering to play football one more time. “I thought I’d give it one more shot,” said Olson. “I still always put football first.” But while there’s not a huge market for receivers who stand 5’8”, there’s always room for pass catchers who are fearless, have good hands, own the ability to change direction and aren’t afraid to get their nose dirty blocking downfield. So far, Olson has defied his diminutive size to excel in football at all stops. After a junior season at Colfax High where he spent much of the year being a back-up running back, Olson broke out in 2006. Teaming with fellow wide receiver Justin Chastain to put pressure on opposing defenses, Olson caught 60 passes for 1,007 yards and scored 13 touchdowns to help the Falcons to a 12-1 season. At Colfax, he owns one of the more memorable catches in school history when he snared a last second touchdown pass from Alex Rump to help the Falcons score nine points in the last 70 seconds for a 22-21 playoff win over Oakdale. After transferring to American River College, Olson sat out the 2008 season but still lifted weights, worked on his speed and attended classes where he earned the first of two AA degrees. In 2009, Olson helped lead the Beavers to a 6-4 record and late in the season had a break-out game when he caught seven passes for 165 yards and a touchdown in a 38-35 win over Siskiyous. However, it was last season where Olson excelled. Playing in American River’s three and four wide-out system, Olson caught 43 passes for 456 yards and scored five touchdowns. He also was one of the state leaders in kick returns averaging 32.1 yards a kickoff. His exploits helped the Beavers roll to a 10-1 record, win the Mid-Empire Conference title and earn Olson first-team all-Mid Empire Conference honors. “Mike was a very good player who did a lot of good things for us,” ARC coach Jerry Haflich said. Olson graduated at mid-year from American River and enrolled at Southern Oregon where he participated in spring ball. Southern Oregon will play the 2011 season as a NAIA independent and on Oct. 1 have a game scheduled against Menlo College in Atherton. The Raiders have a new coach in Craig Howard, who was Tim Tebow’s head coach in high school in Florida. Next year, the Raiders will join for football only the Frontier Conference which will put them in the same league as perennial NAIA national power Carroll College of Montana. “Southern Oregon is close to home,” said Olson. “ I’ve found that the biggest difference between AR and here is that things are a bit more structured, organized by position. It should be fun.”