BISMARCK, N.D. - When Bismarck High has a good offensive football team, the Demons always have a solid quarterback, excellent pulling guard's and a big play running back. The big play running back is in this week's Sports Spotlight. His name is Isaiah Olsen.
Football is generally a sport kids like to play. But for Isaiah Olsen, it wasn't exactly love at first sight.
"Right there, about the five yard line, first day I got my football pads, my dad took me and my older brother Ethan, we went down there, gave me the ball at the five yard line, set up two cones about 10 yards apart, and he said, 'score.' And I got pummeled, every single time I tried. And I cried, and after about four times I cried and said I want to go home, and I hated it," said Olsen, senior.
It would be a rough next couple of years. Between trial and error, the hate would fade and his dad's encouragement began to make sense.
"He just pushed me, pushed me, pushed me, and eventually I fell in love. Once I got that first taste of a hit, around ninth grade, I fell in love, and from there it went on," said Olsen.
Once the 2016 season rolled around, an injury forced Olsen to sit it out on the sidelines. But that didn't stop him from making a comeback the following year.
"It's been a roller coaster, it's definitely gone by fast. You know, I can remember playing freshman football play by play. I remember walking up to my coach and telling him I can't play my sophomore year, I remember everything, every big event that's happened throughout the line, I remember it, but it's definitely gone by a lot faster than the rest of my life has," said Olsen.
"You know he's a kid that certainly is a young man that I've seen develop over the years into a young man that's, he's a kid that wants to do the best for his team. You know, some kids want the ball because they're selfish, but Izzy knows that he wants the ball because it's going to help us win," said Mark Gibson, BHS head football coach.
When looking back, if Olsen could tell his younger self anything it would be, 'don't give up.'
"Yeah, I wish I could tell him, 'quit crying, quit being a baby, just suck it up, keep going,'" said Olsen.
His future plans include an education and football, but he's still undecided on a college. It's a future that may not have happened if he failed to make it past the 5-yard line in his first set of football pads.
Olsen and the Demons host Fargo North in the first round of the Triple-A playoffs on Friday.
It's the second game of the day at the Bismarck Community Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.