It was a tough game and it really was a battle. Our whole team played well ---- it was a complete team effort. I made mistakes and threw some interceptions, but the defense stepped up like they always do. – Britain Covey
SALEM — Two of the state’s biggest gridiron stars shone brightly Friday during Timpview’s 42-21 win over Salem Hills.
In one corner it was Salem Hills’ Porter Gustin, one of the highest profile recruits in state history, playing at both quarterback and at linebacker. In the other corner it was Timpview quarterback Britain Covey, who led the T-birds to a 4A state championship last season.
Both players certainly had their share of moments, and in the end it was Covey, and his well over 400 yards of total offense and six total touchdowns, that won out.
“It was a tough game and it really was a battle,” said Covey following the game. “Our whole team played well — it was a complete team effort. I made mistakes and threw some interceptions, but the defense stepped up like they always do.”
Covey’s performance showcased a bit of everything from long bombs and his signature electrifying runs that kept the Skyhawks off-balance and frustrated for much of the evening.
As for Gustin, he did it all on both sides of the football — accounting for some punishing hits on defense while doing his best to frustrate Timpview’s defense.
“Porter is amazing,” Covey said. “You saw 10 plus tackles, an interception, and he’s a great player.”
Both players' best work perhaps came in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
Covey started the second quarter with a 15-yard touchdown run that made it 14-7 T-birds with 10:22 remaining in the first half. Two plays later saw Gustin gallop for a 63-yard touchdown run to tie things up before Covey answered on the very next play — hitting receiver Hunter Stookey with a 76-yard bomb to put Timpview back ahead 21-14 with 9:01 remaining in the second quarter.
“We expect big plays like that from Porter … but we were able to answer, and credit goes to (the coaches) for putting me in good spots,” Covey said.
Covey capped off the first half scoring with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Reid to put the T-birds up 28-14 at the half.
Coming out of the break, Salem Hills threatened to score early before Timpview’s defense clamped down to hold the Skyhawks just outside of the end zone. It was then that Covey engineered a 95-yard touchdown scoring drive that chewed just over seven minutes off the clock to put his team up 35-14 and suck the wind out of the Skyhawks’ sails.
“What we tried to do was just take what they gave us and not go for too many big plays,” Covey said of the drive. “It kind of wore them down, especially because a lot of their players play both ways.”
A few minutes later saw Timpview running back Saia Folaumahina push through for a 4-yard scoring run to make it 42-14.
Gustin capped off the scoring with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Nate Wilson to cut the score to 42-21, but that would be it as Timpview walked away with a key win to open Region 8 play.
"This was definitely a big win because coming in there was so much hype," Covey said. "Salem Hills is definitely one of the top competitors in our region, and it was key for us to take these guys really seriously. … I was happy with how our team battled."
With the win, Timpview improves to 4-0 on the year and 1-0 in Region 8 play. Next up for the T-birds is a home game against region foe Springville.
Salem Hills falls to 3-1 on the year with the loss and will next travel to take on Wasatch.