Prep Athlete: Waseca’s O’Brien leads by example for the Bluejays

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2022 at 9:45 PM CDT
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - The ninth-ranked Waseca Bluejays entered the 2022 high school football season with enough talent and experience to make its first state tournament appearance since 2019.

The Bluejays (3-1) are proven on both sides of the ball, with senior quarterback Oliver O’Brien acting as a catalyst for an offense responsible for outscoring opponents 133-42 through four games.

“He’s elusive athletically, he’s also very good at reading [the game], he makes very good decisions with the football and the run game. He sees the game, it looks fast to other people, but it looks slow to him,” Waseca Head Coach Brad Wendland said.

O’Brien felt the pressure in his first year when he slid into the starting role at quarterback and still led Waseca as a passer and rusher. Now, onto year two, the senior is on track for another historic season.

“I think the game has slowed down for us. It’s easier to see things, it’s easier to read the holes,” O’Brien said. “Playing last year really helped the players who are playing this year. You feel more comfortable, you feel more confident, you’re the senior, you have more experience and it overall slows down the game for you.”

Long-time head coach Brad Wendland knows a budding star when he sees one, and at a very early age, O’Brien showcased all the tools of a leader.

“He’s my neighbor, so I’ve known him since he was a little kid. Oliver is a kid, I remember the freshman coach coming up to me and saying ‘Ollie, you’re going to love Ollie,’ because he would watch a college football game on Saturday and then come with a play on Monday and say ‘here’s what I saw, here’s what we should do.’ He loves playing quarterback, he loves Bluejay football, he loves Waseca football. He loves to compete and win [and is] a lot of fun to coach,” Wendland explained.

O’Brien, who considers himself to be a student of the game, is always there acting as a coach on the field for teammates, and sometimes steps in when coaches make mistakes.

“There’s a couple times where I’d send the play in wrong, and he’d correct it. So that’s really nice to have,” Wendland stated.

“You prepare yourself to go out there and make plays and once you get out in the field and the adrenaline takes over and you just go. Once you see the hole, you just run. We’re just fortunate, the teammates I have,” O’Brien added.

O’Brien’s team-first attitude and skill are why the dual-threat quarterback is our Norseman Trucking Prep Athlete of the Week.

Visit to nominate a deserving local athlete for Prep Athlete of the Week.