MILES CITY — Bozeman running back Joe Olson was on pace for a historic senior season before breaking both the radius and ulna in his left arm.
Olson was on pace for 2,000 rushing yards, which would have been just the fifth 2,000-yard season in Montana history, according to the Montana High School Association record books, and averaging nearly 200 yards per game on the ground. With the Hawks’ postseason success Bozeman, Olson potentially could have challenged Kalispell Flathead’s Blake Counts for Montana’s single-season rushing record. Counts ran for 2,588 yards in helping the Braves to a runner-up finish.
Olson, though, was relegated to the sidelines as a bystander following surgery. The three-month recovery period kept Olson from upper-body workouts until December, so he had to work hard both mentally and physically to make up for lost time.
“Definitely very frustrating at first, just not being able to have my usual strength,” Olson said. “I lost a ton of weight, so I had to gain a bunch of weight back, and then just get my strength back. It was definitely really frustrating at first but satisfying once I got to the point where I needed to be.”
Olson’s athletic ability shined during the high school track and field season, as he was among the state’s best hurdlers. He attributes some of his gains in explosiveness over the years to the workouts on the track.
He’s only been doing football workouts for about a month, though, and hasn’t faced any live action since breaking his arm at the end of September. This weekend’s Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl in Miles City will be his first live reps, and he’s ready to showcase his talents that landed him a spot at Montana State.
“I’m super excited. It’s super fun to be with all the schools from everywhere and all the Montana guys. We’re all one team now, so it’s super fun,” Olson said.
The Badlands Bowl record for rushing yards in a game is 184, set last year by Huntley Project’s Lane Sumner, also a Montana State recruit. Olson will have an eye on his future teammates’ record this Saturday.
Saturday’s game is slated to kick off at 6 p.m. from Connors Stadium in Miles City. Montana holds a 19-6 advantage in the all-time series, including winning seven of the past eight. The Montana roster can be found here.