AMERICAN FORK — A game that will stand the test of time as a highlight of the 2017 season will be remembered as Friday night’s epic game with Timpview’s incredible second-half turnaround at American Fork.
The Cavemen were led by quarterback Bronson Barron’s comeback attempt as he led a two-minute drive as he found various receivers, ending with Farrell Dean’s 10-yard TD catch to bring American Fork within a point at 34-33 with one minute left. AF head coach Aaron Behm decided to be the aggressor and go for the win with a two-point conversion. Barron found receiver Chase Roberts at the right side of the field and as Roberts caught the ball and launched a few steps forward toward the goal line. Roberts lost the ball and it was ruled an incompletion as the Thunderbirds' sideline exulted for joy with the stop.
Timpview (1-1) would go on to win the game 34-33 at American Fork and leave head coach Cary Whittingham joyous.
Whittingham said of American Fork (1-1) going for a two-point conversion in that situation: “If you score it, you as a head coach is always right for going for it and if not, then you’re second-guessed. Their decision was great and they knew what they had to do to win, and fortunately for our guys it worked out in our favor."
Thunderbirds quarterback Isaiah Ramos threw for four touchdowns, three in the second half.
With the Cavemen leading 20-7 at halftime, Ramos took charge after Payton Madsen took the opening second half kickoff 50 yards to midfield. Ramos found Jake Biggs for a 23-yard gain and was helped by running back Amoni Tuha’s downhill running. Ramos then found Rowan Reay for a 6-yard touchdown to bring the Timpview within six.
On American Fork’s next possession, the Cavemen had a 75-yard touchdown pass negated by a holding penalty, ending the drive.
Timpview would take the momentum from there as Ramos found freshman receiver Raider Damuni for an incredible 37-yard catch down to the 20. Ramos then found Hunter Erickson for a 20-yard touchdown to put the Thunderbirds up 21-20 midway through the third quarter.
“I think Ramos was getting out of the game plan and trying too hard in the first half but I commend our offensive coordinator on his adjustments,” said Whittingham when asked what the difference was in the second half. “There were very few adjustments but a challenge to come out and play harder in the second half.”
Seconds later American Fork fumbled on their possession and Timpview recovered the ball at the 23. The Thunderbirds would get a field goal out of the turnover recovery.
Barron would not be denied yet though as he led the Cavemen down the field on a methodical drive and American Fork would score on Josh Wernli’s 1-yard touchdown run as the Cavemen would lead 27-24 after three quarters.
The Thunderbirds got a field goal tying the game at 27-27 midway through the third quarter.
American Fork’s next possession ended in a receiver's fumble and Timpview would get another red-zone chance at the 23. Ramos found Biggs on the first chance for a 23-yard touchdown that put Timpview up 34-27 with seven minutes left in the game.
After the Cavemen drove down and failed on the two-point conversion, they attempted on onside kick but failed to recover the ball as the Thunderbirds ran out the clock to finish out the comeback win.
Barron threw three touchdowns and three interceptions. His main target, Roberts, caught 109 yards in the first half. The decision to go for two and the win at the end eventually doomed the Cavemen and could spark Timpview together even more for the remainder of its season.
The Thunderbirds 27 points scored in the second half was an all-around effort led by Madsen’s defensive efforts, Tuha’s effective running, and Ramos' ability to catch fire out of halftime.
“I believe our team has great cohesion and this win can foster our team together even more with this emotional comeback win,” said Whittingham on the victory.
Timpview will play against Del Oro High (California) on Sept. 1, while American Fork will play against Servite, California the same day.