There they were. Just three yards away from taking the lead and turning the season around. The Provo Bulldogs, who started the year at 1-4, had regrouped to improve to 3-4 and were now in a position to make a run at the Region 8 title.
With 40 seconds left in the half, Provo was about to score and take the lead over arch-rival Timpview, who was unbeaten in region play.But on third-and-goal at the Timpview 3, the T-Birds came up with a play that keyed Timpview's 41-34 win Thursday night.
Timpview's Ryan Pond sacked Provo's Matt Thornton and as he was dragging Thornton to the ground managed to work the ball free from Thornton's grasp. Brandon Jones scooped up the ball and returned it 86 yards for a touchdown.
So instead of going into the half with a 17-14 lead, the Bulldogs hit the intermission down 20-10. Ouch.
Even though the Bulldogs fired back to take a 31-27 lead on a James Vance 4-yard run on the opening play of the fourth quarter, Provo couldn't help but wonder how things might have been different had there not been a 14-point turnaround right before half.
"That was obviously a big play. It was a close call. I thought he (Thornton) may have been down, but it went against us," said Provo coach David Mills.
Provo came back in the second half to take a 24-20 lead on a 7-yard run from Thronton and an 11-yard pass from Thornton to David Ware.
Timpview regained the lead on a Jones 3-yard run. After Vance's run, Timpview regained the lead at 34-31 on a 5-yard pass from Lane Gardner to tight end Ryan Mahoney.
Then came the play that broke Provo's back in the second half. With 5:19 left in the game Timpview's drive stalled at the Provo 19. Facing a fourth-and-2, Gardner rolled out to his right and under heavy pressure heaved the ball in the direction of wide receiver Jarom Dastrup.
Provo's Kyle Barnes had the play covered, but Dastrup came back for the ball and made a spectacular catch to somehow come away with the ball and a touchdown.
Ryan Kimball's PAT gave Timpview a 41-31 lead. The Bulldogs cut the lead to 41-34 on a Scott Bayles 37-yard field goal with 3:59 left in the game, but Provo couldn't stop Timpview from running out the clock.
The win gave Timpview the Region 8 title. Provo needs a win next week to assure itself a playoff spot.