Brophy finds themselves as one of the final four teams remaining in Division-I. The Broncos had to go through an absolute gauntlet to begin the year, taking on Nevada’s Bishop Gorman, the top team in the country, Hamilton and Centennial in their first four games. Brophy came out of that stretch battered and sporting a 1-3 record.
But since September 11, Brophy hasn’t lost. Their defense is playing at and a vicious rate. The Broncos have given up 12.6 points per game in their last seven contests. Their offense is not short on big receiving options, their running backs duo of Ryan Velez and Noah Pittenger are punishing and difficult to bring down. Their special teams features one of the more reliable kickers in the state in Streator Bates and they have a return team that knows how to make plays.
Senior Isaiah Oliver has had a hand, or in some cases “hands”, in each area of improvement. Offensively, he has 11 receiving touchdowns on the year and over 1,200 yards. Defensively, he has seven interceptions and can be found delivering punishing hits from sideline to sideline. On special teams, Oliver has been a nightmare for opposing kickers. He has a five blocked field goals on the year.
The key to the turnaround, according to Oliver, has been the defense hitting it’s stride, which has helped improve the offensive and special teams units as well.
“After starting off 1-3, we knew we needed to make a change on the defensive side of the ball to help out the offense. On the nine game win streak, we’ve realized the defense has gotten a lot better, and now we feel like we’re one of the top defenses in the state.”
Oliver, the catalyst for the Broncos turnaround, has been a jack of all trades for the team, who sits one game from the state championship finals. Despite the resume and overwhelming stat sheet, Oliver has been under the radar when it comes to recruiting.
“He’s a tremendous player. If teams around the country don’t take a serious look at him, I don’t know what else he needs to show,” Brophy Head Football Coach Scooter Molander said emphatically. “He does it on offense, he does it on defense, he does it on special teams. He’s a tremendous player, an impact player for us.”
Oliver has been offered by New Mexico and recently by Colorado. Though the offers might not be there, Oliver is not deterred. The offer from the Buffaloes may cause other schools to follow suit, but Oliver says there is a task at hand he needs to take care of before thinking about playing on Saturdays.
“It’s huge, my first Pac-12 offer. So we’re looking for that to bring in a lot more. Colorado’s a great school. We’re just focused on getting another win next week,” Oliver said.
Oliver and the Broncos get a second crack at Hamilton, who beat Brophy 41-6 in Week 3, in the state semifinals. Brophy is a much different team than the last time they played, and no matter the outcome, expect Oliver to have an impact in all three phases of the game.