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Colfax grad Olson helps SOU move on

Former Falcon finding success in NAIA football
By: Mike Ray / Gold Country News Service
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If there’s one thing for certain about this year’s NAIA football playoffs, former Colfax High grid standout Michael Olson is getting to know the state of Iowa pretty well.
Last Saturday, Olson, a senior slot back for the Southern Oregon University football team, helped the Raiders overcome St. Ambrose, 45-28, in a first-round playoff game played in Davenport, Iowa.
The 2007 Colfax High graduate, an all-PVL pick who went on to earn all-state honors while playing at American River, scored a pair of touchdowns in the first-round win. Olson scored for SOU on a four-yard run and a 17-yard reception from Austin Dodge. On offense, SOU, the highest-scoring team in the nation, totaled 547 yards in the victory.
SOU built a 17-6 lead in the win before watching St. Ambrose rally to take a 28-17 lead by halftime. In the second half, SOU tallied 28-unanswered points and shut the Bees out over the final two quarters.
Olson, who finished the game with five catches for 81 yards, and the Raiders will now move on to the second round and play undefeated Morningside College (11-0) this Saturday in Sioux City, Iowa.
The two touchdowns tallied by Olson give him 23 on the season, placing him among the nation’s NAIA leaders in that category.    
“We’re playing well right now,” said SOU head coach Craig Howard. “Mike Olson is having a great season for us. I call him our Wes Welker.”
Olson, whose shiftiness and elusiveness can cause opposing defenses plenty of headaches, has quietly put together a monster statistical year for the Raiders in 2012.
“It’s a fast-paced tempo,” Olson said. “It took us awhile to get going but we turned it around in the second half.”
Going in to the game at St. Ambrose, Olson had rushed the ball from his slot back position 61 times for 142 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. He has also grabbed 48 passes for 754 more yards and six touchdowns.
While also returning punts and kickoffs for the Raiders, he has accumulated 1,326 all-purpose yards, which ranks him 20th in the nation among NAIA schools. His season total of 23 touchdowns – which includes a
100-yard kickoff return for a score – puts him second in the nation in scoring.
“We use Mike a lot of different ways,” said SOU offensive coordinator Ken
Fasnacht. “All three of our receivers complement each other very well.”
Howard, who coached Tim Tebow in high school, returned from Florida two years ago to return to his Southern Oregon roots and take the Raiders’
reins.
“We’re up tempo,” Howard sai. “Two weeks ago against Montana Tech we got off 110 plays. We have one special play called ‘Colfax.’ You can figure out who that goes to.”