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High school football: Timpview hitting its stride heading into 5A semifinal clash against Salem Hills

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Amid some key injuries and then some early-season losses to bigger, better 6A schools, Timpview’s confidence never wavered.

Even when COVID-19 canceled games against Orem and Provo, and then when Timpview laid an egg in regular season finale against Stansbury, there was no shortage of confidence.


No. 9 Timpview (6-4) vs. No. 4 Salem Hills (9-2)

5A state tournament semifinal

Friday, 2 p.m. (At Cedar Valley High School)

Parry’s Power Guide: Timpview by 15

All-time series: Timpview leads 4-1. Salem Hills’ sole win was a Timpview forfeit in 2011.

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Timpview’s Andy Stokes and Salem Hills’ Jeff Higginson

Last meeting: 2016 – Timpview, 66-19, 4A first-round

The 5A runner-up last year, Timpview always believed it could get back and take the next step as a program and it proved that over the past two weeks with playoff wins over Olympus and Brighton to advance to this Friday’s 5A semifinals against Salem Hills.

“I don’t think the team ever lost faith in who we believed we were,” said Timpview coach Andy Stokes.

While Timpview is a regular in the state tournament semifinals with 14 appearances in the past 19 years, Salem Hills is anything but. Last year was the first semifinal appearance in school history, and this year makes it two.

A year ago Salem Hills ran into the Orem buzzsaw and realistically never had a chance as it lost 51-14.

Many players from last year’s team are back, and first-year Salem Hills coach Joel Higginson said they’re not just happy to be here this year.

“It’s awesome to get back there, don’t get me wrong, but we still have work to do and this team feels that way,” said Higginson.

Salem Hills beat traditional strong programs in the preseason and then in region play and feels good about its chances after back-to-back playoff wins over Box Elder and Wasatch to reach the semis.

A big part of Salem Hills’ success has been the play of quarterback Jarret Elmer. He’s passed for 2,948 yards and 32 touchdowns, and after playing in last year’s semifinal against Orem he’s better suited to handle all the pressure that accompanies a semifinal.

“It seems the more important the game, the better and bigger Jarret steps up,” said Higginson. “We put a lot on him, and as he goes we go. We think Jarret is playing as good of football right now as he has all year.”

Stokes had high praise of Salem Hills’ quarterback as well, calling him a “phenomenal player.”

Elmer spreads the ball around pretty evenly to receivers Reed Johnson, Austin Hallows and Deven Johnson.

Defensively, Salem Hills ranks second in 5A only allowing 17.2 ppg, but this Friday might be its toughest test of the season against a Timpview team that’s finally hitting its stride.

Timpview standout running back Targhee Lambson aggravated a knee injury in the season-opening loss to Long Peak. He missed seven weeks, returning sparingly for Timpview’s week 9 game with Alta.

Since the Alta game he’s rushed for over 100 yards in three straight games, and last week’s win over Brighton was the first week Stokes said his running back was 100 percent as he rushed for 196 yards.

Stokes said if his offensive line is sharp early, and Lambson is hitting the holes Timpview should build a great rhythm early.

“Offensively if we get out of a rhythm, it’s hard. I think we start one senior on offense. If we get out of the rhythm, it’s hard to get back in the rhythm,” said Stokes.

If the offense is in a rhythm that forces the opponent to press, Timpview’s defense is loaded with playmakers led by Raider Damuni, Logan Fano and Cael Richardson who feast off turnovers.

Timpview statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 31.4 ppg (6th in 5A)

Scoring defense: 21.9 ppg (9th in 5A)


Timpview player to watch

Brandon Gurney

Raider Damuni, DB

Passing leader: Liu Aumavae (123-200, 61.5%, 1,571 yards, 12 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Targhee Lambson (87 carries, 595 yards, 3 TDs), Mitch Beckstead (65 carries, 550 yards, 5 TDs), Misi Tuha (96 carries, 536 yards, 3 TDs),

Receiving leaders: Carsen Ryan (43 rec., 489 yards, 2 TDs), Chaid Allred (40 rec., 453 yards, 4 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Cael Richardson (95 tackles), Logan Fano (65 tackles)

Sack leaders: Logan Fano (11 sacks)

Interception leaders: Puna Alatini, Elijah Allen, Ammon Key, Raider Damuni (2 INTs)

Salem Hills statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 31.2 ppg (7th in 5A)

Scoring defense: 17.2 ppg (2nd in 5A)


Salem Hills player to watch


Brandon Gurney

Jarret Elmer, QB

Passing leader: Jarret Elmer (188-332, 56.6%, 2,948 yards, 32 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Willie Leota (103 carries, 717 yards, 5 TDs), Jarret Elmer (72 carries, 449 yards, 8 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Reed Johnson (44 rec., 792 yards, 11 TDs), Austin Hallows (39 rec., 723 yards, 9 TDs), Deven Johnson (51 rec., 674 yards, 6 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Zaylun Fenn (93 tackles), Willie Leota (66 tackles)

Sack leaders: Grant Barney (7 sacks)

Interception leaders: Willie Leota (6 INTs)

Felt’s Facts for Timpview High School

All-time record: 359-129 (43 years)

Region championships: 21 (1977 co, 1986 co, 1991, 1992, 1993 co, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 co, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2019, 2020 co)

Playoff appearances: 40

All-time playoff record: 79-28

State championships: 11 (1986, 1991, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)

State championship record: 11-3

Felt’s Facts for Salem Hills High School

All-time record: 74-69 (13 years)

Region championships: 0

Playoff appearances: 10

All-time playoff record: 6-9

State championships: 0

State championship record: 0-0