Football Season Turns Around


Nick Mullen, Head Coach for the OHS football program

Jacob Reeves, Journalist

“If the worst thing that happens is you lose, guess what – the sun still comes up the next day, and your family is okay, everyone is safe, everyone is healthy, and that’s what we gotta play for” Nick Mullen, Head Coach for the Olympia Bears Football Program says. Scheduled to play the season opener against Bellarmine Prep away, followed by another away game against Graham Kapowsin, the start to the Bear’s season promised to be a difficult one. Olympia’s 30-27 loss against Bellarmine Prep was a very narrow scoreline, however Graham Kapowsin’s 56-0 win over the Bears was not. 

Coach Mullen believes that there are a few important takeaways from the first two games of this season. He explains that “if you turn the ball over 6 times and only lose by 3, you’re a pretty good team,” while describing the 3 point loss against Bellarmine. “Usually if you’re turning the ball over 6 times, you’re losing by at least two scores,” he says. The Scoreline of the Graham Kapowsin game was far less close and Coach Mullen comments, “They have a very established program, and they have all that is needed to build a program to be successful. For us, that is what we are learning.” Mullen believes that part of the success of a team comes from the process of playing these tough teams. He states, “There’s never an end result in the journey.”

In the pouring rain, the Bears played their first home game against Emerald Ridge. 

Down 14-0 at halftime, the Bears scored 20 points in the second half but only narrowly lost again, 20-26.  Reflecting on the trend that coaches seem to have when talking about losses, he states, “They always talk about the positives, but I don’t believe in moral victories.” Mullen says, “We learned that we can put points on the board fast, and the kids saw that we were right there. We just needed something to help us turn the corner.” Coach Mullen references the team’s practices as a potential turning point, explaining that “Our guys never get tired, we are always the best-conditioned team and that’s just how we practice. Each week we look to go 1-0.” 

In the following weeks, they did just that. Against Rogers on homecoming weekend, the Bears put 42 points on the board, with Rogers only scoring 7. As the team walked off of the field after their first conference win this season, Coach Mullen describes the feeling of the players and staff as “relieved.” He states, “For me, I finally got my first 4A win. For the kids, they see what is possible if we put things together.” Max Tuitele, Senior, played an integral role in the teams’ success that night, and he explains “We had a great game plan leading up to the game, which opened up opportunities for the linebackers and I to make plays.” Tuitele also mentions, “The D Line did their thing along with the Secondary, who both are consistently making big plays.” The next week, the Bears took on South Kitsap away. The game ended 42-16, Olympia winning another conference game. Nick Thompson, Senior, had two crucial interceptions that prevented South Kitsap from putting more points on the board. Thompson describes playing in the game, saying “The energy of our team was electric, and it was clear that we were going to win from the start.” When asked if this energy and momentum will carry with the team for the rest of the season, Coach Mullen confidently states, “Yes. We still have a shot at playoffs, we have to win 2 out of the next 4 and I think that is very doable. I think we can surprise some people.”