Timpview and Lehi met in Provo Thursday night with identical records and a region championship on the line. The Thunderbirds picked up the win and the Region 8 title, besting the Pioneers 28-14 in a game they never trailed.
Both teams entered the game with 6-2 records, undefeated in Region 8, and riding three-game win streaks. The two schools with mirrored results weren’t as similar on the field, as the Thunderbirds were in control for the majority of the game.
“We came in thinking Lehi is one of the top teams in 5A for sure,” Timpview head coach Andy Stokes said. “Plus (this win) was for the region title, so it’s good for our kids. I think our kids outdid some adversity. I think penalties were 22 to eight; kind of hard to believe. We just played through that, and we came out with a win. When we had to score, we scored.”
The Thunderbirds’ most pivotal score came with less than a minute left in the third quarter after blowing a 14-0 halftime lead. With the game tied, Timpview put together a 7-play, 80-yard drive that was capped off with Liu Aumavae finding Tei Nacua in the middle of the field for a 34-yard snag and score.
“I gave (the defender) a little step outside,” Nacua said of his touchdown grab, his second of the night. “I knew he flipped his hips and those safeties weren’t coming inside the hash. Liu threw a perfect ball, that’s why we were able to score.”
The touchdown gave Timpview the momentum and lead for good.
After Lehi notched the game at 14, Stokes stressed to Aumavae how important it was that the Thunderbirds score.
“(This win) was for the region title, so it’s good for our kids. I think our kids outdid some adversity.” — Timpview head coach Andy Stokes
“(Aumavae) did a good job of taking what they gave us,” Stokes said. “He threw a strike there at the end to put us up. When he had to throw the perfect ball, he threw it today. He’s continually doing a better job each week.”
Timpview added to its lead in the fourth quarter, chewing up clock and scoring on a Aumavae QB sneak with 6:46 left to play.
Despite the win, Coach Stokes felt his team could have played better.
“We were a little out of sync in the first half. We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to get ourselves started (quicker),” he said. “The beginning of the year we were doing a really good job coming out of the gates and then the last two games we’ve struggled out of the gates a little bit. So we’re going to go back and figure out what we can do to start faster.”
The Thunderbirds will have just one more game to figure things out before the state tournament starts. Both schools’ seasons will come to an end next week on Wednesday night. Timpview will be seeking a fifth straight win when it travels to Sandy to take on Jordan. Lehi will look to get back on track in a tough road matchup at Orem; the Tigers have won four straight state championships. The games are set to begin at 7 pm.