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T-birds bounce back from loss, down Lions

PROVO — Relying on a quick-strike offense and key turnovers, the Timpview Thunderbirds were able to stay unbeaten against in-state teams this season.

Behind the legs and arm of senior quarterback Benjamin Bateman, the T-birds outlasted the resilient Payson Lions 48-28 Friday night, rebounding from their loss in Hawaii a week earlier.

After taking a commanding halftime lead, Timpview allowed Payson to claw its way back into the game in the third quarter. The Lions overcame various penalties to get within three at 28-25 before losing momentum in the final period.

Timpview coach Louis Wong was disappointed with his team's effort. "There was a lack of discipline throughout the whole team, and we're going to correct that," Wong said. "This team needs to find out how good they want to be, if they're going to do what we ask them to do, or we're not going to be very successful."

If the T-birds have that much room to improve, the rest of the 4A classification should take notice. Led by Bateman and senior wide receiver David Jackson, the Timpview offense looked efficient throughout the night.

Bateman led various quick scoring drives, maybe the most crucial coming at the close of the first half. Trailing 21-10, Payson built a sustained drive all the way down to the Timpview 29, before quarterback Wesley Haskell's pass was intercepted in the end zone.

Bateman and the T-birds took over with 1:07 left in the half and put together a five-play, 80-yard drive to seemingly put the game out of reach, scoring on a 15-yard run by Bateman to go into the locker room with a 28-10 lead.

Payson refused to give in, however, as it mounted a third-quarter surge, keyed by an interception by Spencer Nielson that resulted in a Lions score just a minute later. "I thought Payson did a good job," Wong said. "Their program has worked hard, and they exposed our weaknesses."

After pulling within three, the Lions seemed to run out of gas in the final period. Timpview recovered an on-side kick attempt early in the fourth quarter, and immediately pounced on the fatigued Lion defense, as Bateman hit Jackson for a 38-yard gain down to the Payson 2-yard line. Three plays later, Bateman rolled out to his left and tossed the ball to Kyle Mack, who was alone in the end zone, to effectively put the game out of reach.