Consider the first page emphatically turned.
In the opener of the Wayne Hills’ football team’s season, the Patriots picked up right where they left off last year: winning.
The Patriots, led by senior quarterback Kevin Olsen, dominated Northern Highlands 56-7 in Wayne Friday night.
Members of the Wayne Hills community are glad to be moving on from what was a tumultuous season and off-season last year.
“I’m glad that we’re back to playing football and getting the team back on the sports pages where it belongs,” Dave Kuhnlein said while watching the game. “Last season, we’ve put it behind us. This is all about the kids and the seniors. They’ve worked hard to get to this point.”
Team supporters hope the win is the first on the way to the Patriots’ ninth state championship under coach Christian Olsen. But don’t look to buy tickets to MetLife Stadium just yet.
This is Olsen’s final season as head coach of the Patriots. He has built up a legacy for himself, winning eight of the last 10 state group championships, and his family. Kevin is the third of Olsen’s three sons to play for him. His middle son Greg plays for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Kevin, a nationally ranked quarterback, has verbally committed to attend the University of Miami next fall.
“It’s never a guarantee that we’ll get back to the Meadowlands,” Nothing is guaranteed. But we hope that we can get back to playing there in early December.”
The stands were packed with fans. Signs with “Welcome to Patriot Country” and “Let’s Go Wayne Hills” lined the first row of the bleachers.
The school’s marching band and color guard performed at halftime and cheered the Patriots on from the stands throughout the game. Parents and fans, covered in maroon, white, and black, cheered during every play and every touchdown.
“This is great. This is what Wayne Hills is really about,” Cindy Johnson said. “The kids, the players, they are what really matter.”
The Patriots will face their crosstown rival Wayne Valley next week.