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Like father, Kenny Olson’s drive produces remarkable results

Kenny Olson competes against Livermore on March 13, 2021
Kenny Olson competes against Livermore on March 13, 2021

Foothill junior receiver and middle linebacker Kenny Olson was taught from the start that outworking everyone is necessary to accomplish one’s dreams.

Olson’s father, Greg Olson, is the perfect example. He was a quarterback at Central Washington and later embarked on an extensive coaching career, where he is now in his 19th season in the National Football League and the offensive coordinator for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Greg Olson has worked his way up the ladder from a graduate assistant at Washington State from 1987-1989, to working as an offensive coordinator at Central Washington, to becoming a position coach in the NFL and then to an offensive coordinator for multiple decades.

Kenny Olson watched his father during his youth put in long hours to maintain a long NFL career and work with some of the world’s best athletes.

“Ever since I was young he’s always told me, ‘If you want to play at the next level, you just have to be different than other people in terms of your work ethic and you have to have a passion for the game if you want to be better.’ So I think since a young age he’s always preached that to me – just getting up early, getting to work and working on my football skills has just, he’s always helped me with that,” Kenny Olson said.

He works out six days per week, going to the field three to four days per week outside of practice – showcasing a drive that he always wants to get better no matter what success comes his way.

And, during the offseason, he was working with some of the best and the brightest to come out of Foothill in recent years.

In addition to working with his father when he was back in town from Las Vegas, he worked with Ben Wooldridge, a former Foothill quarterback who is now at Louisiana after transferring from Fresno State, and former Falcon Peter Montini, who just concluded his first season at Nevada-Reno as a linebacker.

“I think just getting up and having that mindset of wanting to get better as a football player and just having that drive to want to play college football,” Kenny Olson said. “I think my drive is just different than other people.”

As part of a 3-1 Foothill team – whose only loss came by one point to Livermore in the season opener – Kenny Olson has displayed the fruits of his labor paying off while playing a critical role in the Falcons’ run to a tie for first place with Livermore in the East Bay Athletic League Valley standings (the two square off at 7 p.m. Saturday at Livermore for the rights to sole possession of first place). 

After going for 38 rushing yards, 28 receiving yards, 10 tackles and three tackles for loss in his first-ever varsity game, Kenny Olson is on a much greater tear during Foothill’s recent three-game winning streak.

Kenny Olson has three straight games of 70-plus receiving yards and upped his season totals to 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, 256 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 19 catches and then 28 tackles, four tackles for loss and one pick six.

“In the first game, that was my first varsity game, so I was still kind of getting used to the speed of varsity and the size of players,” Kenny Olson said. “And also credit to my coach. He’s found me better ways to get me the ball, whether that’s lining me up outside and running deep routes or running jet sweeps or bubble screens to use my speed because that’s probably my best asset. 

“I really think since the first game I’ve just gotten used to varsity and used to the speed of the game.”

Something Kenny Olson always shows is an overwhelming speed, as he boasts a 4.4 40-yard dash time.

He’s able to recognize where the ball is faster than everybody else, and that speed also helps him at receiver when running routes/

Running track is important for Kenny Olson, who said anyone who wants to play collegiate football should run track.

“Definitely just since I’ve started running track in fourth grade, and I’m a sprinter, so I just think having a great running form and just I think speed is the most important thing on the football field because if no one can catch you that’s hard,” Kenny Olson said. “You can’t stop that. I think that track is a great asset to football as well.”

In the classroom, Kenny Olson is a massive success story, too, holding a 4.33 GPA.

Thus far, he’s been hearing from Mountain West programs in Air Force and San Diego State, and he’s looking to continue hearing more from Cal Poly and Cal.

“I’ve always liked San Diego State just because of the location, and I’m hoping to stay on the west coast just because I like the west coast,” Kenny Olson said. “And then Air Force – just they were the first really Division I school that reached out to me, so I just appreciate that a lot. They just seem like a really good school, and I really like their coaches.”

Some career aspirations for Kenny Olson include playing college and professional football, but if all of those don’t pan out, he hopes to become a college or professional coach just like his father.

For now, though, he’s focused on continuing the string of wins he and Foothill are experiencing.

“We want to win out the rest of our games, go 5-1,” Kenny Olson said. “And then me personally I want to lead the team in tackles and touchdowns at the end of the season and hopefully win all-league linebacker or receiver.”

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