Relegated exclusively to the role of placekicker as a sophomore, Dylan Olsson wanted to be a bigger contributor to the South Brunswick football program.
“I just tried to do as much as I could to get noticed,” Olsson said of his work ethic during practice early last season.
“The first game I was with the backups (in the secondary). Toward the end of the game, we had a significant lead, and they put us in. I remember having a tackle or two and tipping a ball (that got intercepted).”
The following Monday, head coach Joe Goerge, in his first season at South Brunswick, pulled Olson aside and told the junior he was going to be starting at cornerback in the ensuing game.
“I was so excited,” Olsson said. “I couldn’t wait. It was one of the best feelings of my high school career.”
The Vikings went on to win the Central Group V championship with an impressive 33-22 win over a heavily favored and previously undefeated Manalapan team.
Olsson did not start that contest as Goerge moved Dontae Strickland, who currently has five scholarship offers from big-time programs, back to corner.
“We won,” said Olsson, the quintessential team player,” so I could care less about that.”
Olsson’s responsibilities will increase significantly this season. The second-leading tackler among all defensive backs last year (only T.J. Taylor, now playing at Rutgers University, had more), Olsson will see time at quarterback this year with Amir Johnson.
Goerge said he may use a platoon at quarterback as the Vikings employed two years ago.
“I would have no problem playing either one,” he said. “That’s how close they are.”
Goerge, who took over the program last July and had little time to prepare, said Olsson impressed him immediately, standing out among some highly recruited players, not necessarily with his skill, but with his work ethic.
Olsson, who had already established himself as one of the state’s top kickers, converted 33 of 36 PAT’s last season and three of four field goal attempts.
“He just has an unbelievable attitude,” Goerge said. “He just does everything the way you want it every time. There’s no question that he would be one of the top kids that I’ve ever coached in my career.
“He’s a great kicker, a great player. If we had 10 or 15 Dylan Olsson’s, you would never have to worry about a thing, and I’m not just talking about wins and losses. He’s a leader on and off the field.
“He played unbelievable football for us, and just reaffirms all we stand for.”