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Will Anderson didn’t like Nathan Hermann at first.
Hermann enrolled at Boston Harbor Elementary for fourth grade to find Anderson already there.
“Nathan was nice to me but for some reason I just didn’t like him,” Anderson recalled. “Once we started playing football together we realized we weren’t so different and became friends.”
Not surprising. Once the two combined on the gridiron, there was a lot to like. Last season, as Olympia High School juniors, the two combined on six touchdown passes as Anderson set Bears records for most catches in a game (13), a season (53) and yards in a game (191). With 15 catches this season, Anderson would become Olympia’s all-time leading pass-catcher.
The pair now refer to each other as best friends.
“I always really liked Will,” Hermann said. “He’s super talented.”
Third-year Olympia head coach, and long-time staff member, Steve Davis likes watching the two.
“It’s great to have guys who have played together so long,” he said. “They’ve thrown thousands and thousands of balls to each other.”
Hermann thinks his friendship with Anderson, who finished fourth last season in the 400 meters at the 4A state track meet, is as important as the number of reps they’ve worked through.
“The best quarterback/wide receiver duos are built off the field,” he said. “We have such a great connection, we’re willing to work hard together. There’s a level of trust between us.”
Hermann, who can also throw to Jayden Dougherty among other talented Bears receivers, has value on his own, says Davis.
“Anytime you’ve got your starting quarterback for a second year that’s a bonus,” he said.
Olympia needs all the pluses it can get to compete in perhaps the state’s deepest 4A league where Puyallup, Graham-Kapowsin, Rogers, Curtis and Sumner all fielded deep and talented squads a year ago. For years, the Bears were an annual title contender in the old 4A Narrows League. Success hasn’t come yet in the SPSL.
“The message now is it’s time to step up and compete,” said Davis, whose team had a 3-7 overall record last season but finished with an encouraging 61-7 rout of Kent-Meridian in a non-playoff crossover game. “Nobody feels sorry for Olympia.”
It’s possible fans will have to save some sympathy for opposing offenses if the Bears experienced defensive group comes through as expected. Second team All-SPSL and Olympian All-Area lineman Tim Sellars, who attends Pope John Paul II but can play football for the Bears since the Eagles don’t have football, and defensive backs Daugherty and Ben Krasnokutsky could be the keys.
“We’ve got a lot of guys back on defense. We’ve got a lot of good size. For the first time in forever our size can finally match up to everybody else in the league,” said Davis.
Hermann notices how the defense can help his offense.
“They’re going to be a force this year. They’ll get the ball back for us,” the quarterback, also a college baseball prospect, said.
Offensively, Hermann points to a line anchored by Sellars, Kahalua Tuietele and Luke Martin as a plus.
“They’re to help make this a turning point in Olympia football history,” he said.
But Anderson and Hermann both believe the Bears experience and togetherness will make the difference.
“The best thing about this team is the unity and competitive spirit,” Hermann said. “Everybody loves each other and wants the best for each other. There’s a collective mission to win a state championship this year.”
“Our energy is really high this year. We feed off of each other. Jayden Dougherty will make an amazing catch in practice and the line will be really, really pumped to go block hard on the next run.”