Naperville North Kicking Dynamo David Olano

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The Naperville North football team is off to a hot start as we hit the halfway point of the high school football season. It takes a full team effort to contribute to a team’s success including all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams. While top tier quarterback Aidan Gray, dynamic receivers like Luke Williams, Bryce and Luke Pettaway, and a well rounded rushing attack get most of the headlines, the Huskies have a rare weapon at their disposal that could end up being a key difference with the game on the line. That competitor is senior kicker David Olano, who made for himself last season, putting football pads on for the first time ever after years of playing soccer.

“I decided it just be something to do and I really didn’t have any plan on going further with it after high school but obviously how my offseason went going into my junior year and training with some of the year local trainers, I kinda gave it a go and took everything a little more seriously than I used to. Obviously I got to be able to have a chance to play after high school.”

This year the senior kicker and punter is ready to have his number called whether it’s putting that ball through the uprights or pinning opponents deep in their own territory.

“I always have that mentality where you never know when your number is going to get called up so you always have to be ready so I knew the acid of having a kicker on the team would be super great for the program so it’s being ready at all time and being ready when my number is called is something I always keep in mind,”

In his first varsity season as a junior, David Olano stepped up in a big way. In a week seven matchup against Metea Valley kicked a game winning 43 yard field goal to help the Huskies win by three points as time expired. It’s the kind of distance rarely seen at the high school level, as the former soccer standout began to open the eyes of scouts across the country.

Now his kicking game is taking an even higher level into his senior year. David Olano recently nailed a key field goal that put the Week 5 game against Dekalb out of reach. Previous kickers like Kansas State safety Matt Maschmeier and former Iowa punter Ron Coluzzi have also made crucial special teams contributions for the Huskies in recent seasons. However in head coach Sean Drendel’s eyes, Olano is special.

“You never think you have a kicker quite like that. He’s an All American for a reason, he’s got a great leg he gets after it he works hard. We look forward to seeing him just keep progressing and keep getting better,”

Although Maschmeier did more than just kicking, he also played offense and defense and was a returner on special teams. That also goes to former Neuqua Valley Wildcat, now Western Michigan kicker Palmer Domscke who also played as a Swiss army knife for the blue and gold. While Olano is used to the contact that comes with playing soccer, he serves strictly as a specialist for kickoffs, punts and field goals.

“It’s kind of like golf you’re by yourself and it has the same mentality as maybe one putt at a time just one kick at a time. Being the operator of your special teams is cool on being able to kick.”

His powerful leg helped him dazzle scouts at kicking camps across the U.S, some scouting services ranked the Huskie as one of the top kicking prospects in the class of 2023. His performance eventually earned several Power 5 scholarship offers until Olano decided to rock the blue and orange for another four years by committing to the University of Illinois. While Olano is excited to kick for a Big Ten school just a couple hours from home, he will always have a special place in his heart for Naperville North.

“This is like the first time I came into football, and they greeted me with open arms and being super good to me so kind of just being around the football team really and coach Drendel and the team is what I’m going to miss the most.”

And down the line if the Huskies are in need of some more late game heroics, Coach Drendel and the rest of the North team will feel more than comfortable to see number 24 sending the ball towards the uprights.

For Naperville Sports Weekly, I’m Patrick Codo