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Thompson, Olson rake in awards

Campus Canvass
By: Ray Hacke Journal Sports Writer
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Placer High graduate Kyle Thompson stood out on a Yuba College team that struggled to a 3-7 record. Colfax grad Mike Olsen was the leading receiver for an American River College squad that went 9-1 in the regular season, won its conference title and went on to win a bowl game. Both football players, who recently completed their sophomore seasons, excelled on offense for their respective junior college teams this season, performing well enough to earn all-conference honors. Thompson, who spent four seasons off the football field after graduating from Placer in 2005, was named to the All-Bay Valley Conference team as a tight end for the second straight season. However, according to Yuba head coach Ted Hoal, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Thompson was also used as a fullback and anywhere else where his blocking skills would be put to good use. “We moved him all around the field because he’s got such great hands,” Hoal said. Thompson finished the season with 12 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came in the 49ers’ Oct. 16 road loss at Shasta College. “He’s a guy who can do a lot of things,” Hoal said. “He’s got the ability to catch the football. He’s such a good blocker – a lot of times we got rid of our fullback and put him in there. He’s a big, physical guy, and a lot of times we’d manipulate our offense and put him up against the strong safety so he would overpower the guy.” Olsen, a 5-9, 180-pound wide receiver, was one of two Colfax graduates who earned All-Mid-Empire Conference honors for American River this season. The other was linebacker Colton Russi, who was named the conference’s defensive MVP after recording 75 tackles (including 13 tackles for loss), 3½ sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and a fumble recovery during the regular season. Like Thompson, Olsen took on a variety of offensive roles for his team this season. In addition to leading ARC with 39 catches for 372 yards and four TDs during the regular season, he also had 10 kickoff returns totaling 321 yards with a long run of 68. Olsen also rushed 10 times for 46 yards for the Beavers. Both Olsen and Russi were impact players in ARC’s Nov. 20 win over De Anza of Cupertino in the Central Division Bowl. Olsen caught a 42-yard touchdown pass, while Russi recorded two sacks, intercepted two passes and blocked a punt.