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REGION 4 IS NOW STUCK IN GRIDLOCK

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The three key words to the Mountain View-Pleasant Grove Region 4 prep football game Thursday night: Matt Thomas, Mark Norman and penalties.

Mountain View defeated the visiting Vikings 17-10, creating a three-way tie for first in the league standings (see below). Region 4 moved its games from Friday night to Thursday night to avoiding going head-to-head against another football game in Utah County - Friday night's BYU-Utah State contest in Cougar Stadium.But back to the "Big Three" from the Bruin-Viking matchup.

- Thomas, Mountain View's 5-foot-8 fullback who serves as the first option in the Bruins' option offense, ran amok in the second half, gaining 154 yards on 13 carries. His 50-yard blast up the middle late in the third period set up a 7-yard touchdown carry. And when it looked like Thomas might be doing all the work with little rewards, Thomas scored on a 20-yarder up the middle in the fourth quarter by gaining all but three yards in MV's seven-play, 67-yard game-winning drive.

"Right up the middle - that's the way I love it," said Thomas, who added of his second-half surge of nearly 120 yards. "But I didn't think we'd go that far that fast.

In fact, it looked like Thomas would add another fourth-quarter TD for insurance, following up a late-game PG turnover with a 12-yard scoring ramble. But that play was nullified by a penalty - the same fate afforded numerous Bruin games.

- Norman - who does triple duty as the Vikings' quarterback, defensive back and kicker - came into Thursday night's game having accounted for all but eight of PG's 40 total points in the previous two league games. Against the Bruins, he recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass, kicked a field goal and showed flashes of passing brilliance in connecting with the likes of Nathan Duvall, Brandon Griffiths and Greg Williams. However, Norman was held in check, rushing seven times for only 31 yards and completing just eight of 21 attempts for 88 yards and three interceptions, including a pick on PG's last-gasp comeback bid in the game's final minutes.

- Penalties seemed to doom the Bruins, who watched two apparent TDs and nearly a half-dozen big gains go for naught because of official-flagged errors - most of them the 15-yard variety. Quarterback D.G. Nelson had a 50-yard first-half scoring scamper nullified because of a penalty, similar to Thomas' aforementioned would-be TD. Even Nelson's late-game, rally-ending interception of a Norman pass was followed - perhaps fittingly - with a MV clipping call on the runback.

Besides the TDs by Thomas and Young, Mountain View's Ryan Haag booted two point-after kicks and a 27-yard field goal. PG scored on Norman's 26-yard FG and a PAT kick following a 22-yard TD ramble by Justin Lund.

Orem 17, Timpview 14: In their upset of the second-ranked Thunderbirds, the Tigers recovered from a 7-0 with a 55-yard TD toss from Garrett Deucher to Scott Hall in the first quarter, a 3-yard scoring run by Matt Harper in the second and a 19-yard field goal by Kevin Inouye in the third period. Timpview countered with a pair of 10-yard TD passes from Kimball Christianson to Howard Christianson. However, Timpview's comeback bid ended with a fumble at the Orem 30 yard line late in the game.

Provo 10, American Fork 0: Cornell Saluone sprinted 73 yards for a touchdown and Nate Lundquist added a 22-yard field goal in the Bulldogs' shutout victory over the Cavemen. The Provo defense held AF to under 70 yards total offense and registered nine sacks.

Region 4 standings: The standings for Utah County's six-team 4A league looks like a drive-time traffic jam. Mountain View, Provo and Timpview are all tied with 2-1 region records, while the league's second trio - American Fork, Orem and Pleasant Grove - are all just a game back with 1-2 marks. Only two weeks or region competition remain, and only the top three teams from the league advance to the state 4A playoffs.