TRAVERSE CITY — In high school, football wasn't an option for Erica Olson.
But it is now for the Traverse City West graduate.
Olson is the starting quarterback for the Savannah Sabers in the 62-team Women's Football Alliance.
The team started workouts last week, and Olson hopes the team can improve as much this season as they did the previous campaign.
"Overall, we had a pretty good season, especially compared to the season before," Olson said. "Just playing was the biggest highlight for me — doing something I love and thought I would never be doing. It's great to be around other women who love the game and to be able to play at a competitive level."
The Sabers were 1-7 in their inaugural season two years ago, and then improved to 5-3 when Olson took the signal-caller duties.
She's just about done with work on her Master's degree in health and physical education at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga.
"I've always loved the game of football," Olson said. "I played flag football back in elementary school. I played with my family over holidays. And I played intramural flag football at my college, but I knew that would be coming to an end because I'm graduating pretty soon, so I wanted to see what other options there were out there."
She researched on the Internet and found a Web site for the Savannah Sabers, a 40-minute drive away from Statesboro, a trip she now makes three times a week to practice.
The team had already started practices last season when she found out about it.
"There was another quarterback, but that wasn't really the position she wanted to play," said Olson, who played QB on various intramural and flag football teams through the years. "They were actively seeking another quarterback. So when I told them I played quarterback, they really wanted me to come down and check it out."
The WFA includes two Michigan teams, including the Detroit Dark Angels and the West Michigan (Kalamazoo) Mayhem. It's full-contact, 11-on-11 football, with rules almost identical to the NFL's.
The helmet and pads were the biggest adjustment for Olson. That, and getting hit by bigger women, but the scrappy ex-Titan was used to coming home with the occasional black eye in high school.
"I had to get used to looking through the helmet instead of having a full range of motion on my head," Olson said. "For intramurals, there's no equipment. And getting used to getting hit. At first, you might have a little apprehension, but once you get hit a few times, you realize that you will be able to get up and continue to play."
Olson — who stands at 5-foot-5 and about 150 pounds — runs the Sabers' triple-option offense and throws about 10-12 times a game.
Her mom wasn't quite as eager for daughter her to take up tackle football.
"She told me she wanted to do this, and I was like, 'Excuse me?'" Melanie Olson said. "But this is just like her. Once I got over the shock, I was OK with it."
This year's schedule is tentatively set, and the Sabers have the first-year Tennessee Train three times. The season starts April 6.
"It's cool being on the cutting edge of something new," Olson said. "Most people don't even know this exists. It's cool that young girls can look up to us and see that women can play football and it's not just a men's sport. Even though they may be told girls can't play football, yes they can, because there are teams out there that women play football on."
Olson starts at QB for Savannah Sabers
TRAVERSE CITY — In high school, football wasn't an option for Erica Olson.
Teams focus on ending season with titles
The girls will crown four state champions Saturday. The boys will be down to the Elite Eight in each class Wednesday night. March Madness is heading down the home stretch.Continued ...
TC West JV wins state title
The Traverse City West junior varsity won a state powerlifting championship Saturday at Whitmore Lake.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/09/2014
Weber receives scholarship; Bellaire’s Emery commits to Albion; Girls hoops travel tryouts March 16. (Plus more)Continued ...
Boyne Falls finally tastes victory against Bellaire
Over the past three seasons, Bellaire has been the only team around that’s had Boyne Falls’ number. On Friday night it was finally the Loggers’ turn to taste victory.Continued ...
Titans stun Alpena, 61-47
Traverse City West has a regional date with Mount Pleasant on Monday.Continued ...
Gladiators hold off Manton
Manton scrapped and clawed and made a game of it on its home floor Friday, but St. Francis big man Noah Phillips was able to answer at the right time, enabling the Gladiators to hold on for a tense 54-51 victory in the Class C district finals.Continued ...
Loney scores 33, sparks Frankfort to a district crown
David Loney scored almost 60 percent of his team’s points in a 58-47 Class D district championship victory Friday over Bear Lake at Frankfort as the Panthers rode the hot hand of their star post player.Continued ...
Hard work pays off for TCC's Piatek
Instead of working last summer, Traverse City Central senior thrower Johnny Piatek opted to devote his energies to training, all in hopes it would lead to a college scholarship.Continued ...
Boys Basketball Roundup: East Jordan ousts Boyne City
The first district basketball title in 19 years earned the East Jordan Red Devils a police escort back into town Friday night.Continued ...
State Prep Boys Basketball Scores: 03/08/2014
Boys high school basketball scores for district tournament games played on Friday, March 7:Continued ...
- Friday, March 7, 2014
High School Sports Scoreboard: 03/07/2014
A roundup of scores from today's boys district basketball tournament games:Continued ...
Panthers roar in regional final
Tim Reznich is hoping Frankfort can have a reunion with Nicole Marshall. And history says the Panthers may very well do that.Continued ...
Frankfort coach elected president of coach association
A pair of girls basketball victories and a regional championship weren’t the only things Tim Reznich won this week.Continued ...
McBain captures Class C regional title
McBain rebounded from a poor shooting performance in the first half to overtake Beaverton and secure a 61-44 decision Thursday in a Class C girls regional championship game.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/07/2014
Coach Mike Krzyzewski is out of the hospital and at practice with No. 4 Duke after feeling light-headed during a loss at Wake Forest. (Plus more)Continued ...
Bob Gwizdz: When the outdoors is indoors
Say this for sports shows: During a winter like this one, it’s nice to be able to do something outdoor-sports related where it’s actually warm.Continued ...
The 2014 Fishing Licenses went on sale March 1. This gives anglers one month to purchase their new license before they are required on April 1.Continued ...
State Prep Basketball Scores: 03/07/2014
Michigan high school basketball scores for games played Thursday, March 7:Continued ...
- Thursday, March 6, 2014
Frankfort, McBain win regional titles
The No. 3-ranked Frankfort Panthers secured a Class D girls basketball regional championship tonight, defeating Bellaire 61-33.Continued ...
Titans roll into district finals
Sault Ste. Marie trailed by double digits for all but 90 seconds Wednesday night. That pretty much sums up Traverse City West's dominance in winning a Class A district semifinal 77-57 after jumping out to an early 14-0 lead.Continued ...
Bullough's return propels Gladiators past McBain
When St. Francis needed a spark to ignite its offense Wednesday night, the Gladiators turned to the Big Three.Continued ...
Alpena starts fast, cruises past Central
Falling into a big, early deficit is a dangerous way to live. Although Traverse City Central was able to scratch out a win that way in Monday’s boys basketball tournament opener versus Petoskey, it couldn’t find that same magic in Wednesday’s Class A district semifinal against Big North Conference champion Alpena.Continued ...
Boys Basketball Roundup: Manton rallies to beat Lake City
Manton (10-11) rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to edge visiting Lake City 56-55 in a Class C district semifinal clash and earn a berth in Friday’s district title game with Traverse City St. Francis.Continued ...
Sports in Brief: 03/06/2014
Frankfort's Reznich elected president of BCAM; Boating safety class set.Continued ...
Today in Sports: 03/06/2014
What's happening in sports across the region and the nation:Continued ...
- Teams focus on ending season with titles