Seven weeks ago, after COVID-19 wiped out the long-awaited title game rematch between Timpview and Orem, Timpview coach Andy Stokes did his best to quell the disappointment among his players.
“I had to send out a message to all of them and said ‘it’s OK, we’re going to play them for sure in the playoffs,’” said Stokes.
Timpview (7-4) vs. Orem (7-2)
5A state championship
Friday, 3 p.m. (At Cedar Valley High School)
Parry’s Power Guide: Orem by 4
All-time series: Timpview leads 20-14
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Orem’s Gabe Sewell and Timpview’s Andy Stokes
Last meeting: Orem, 21-7, 2019 Class 5A championship.
It was impossible for Stokes to know for sure that they’d meet in the playoffs, but based on his assessment of 5A back on Oct. 1, he believed Timpview and Orem were the two most talented teams and was confident they’d eventually meet in the playoffs regardless of the round.
No. 9 Timpview and No. 2 Orem ended up being placed on opposite sides of the bracket, and just like Stokes reassured his players on that sad Thursday seven weeks ago, the rematch has finally arrived as the teams square off at Cedar Valley High School in the 5A championship on Friday at 3 p.m.
“I think everything lined up how it was supposed to happen,” said Stokes, whose team lost to Orem 21-7 in last year’s 5A state championship.
It’s a game Orem has been looking forward to all season as well, and there’s an added bonus of trying to win a fourth straight state title.
“There are a lot of bragging rights going on with this,” said Orem interim coach Gabe Sewell. “There’s something extra about it. It’s really the only game the kids had circled on the calendar this year.”
Friday’s title game figures to be a good ol’ fashioned game of smash-mouth football.
“They’re very physical up front, and we pride ourselves on being physical too so I think it’s going to be a great matchup there,” said Sewell.
Orem’s physicality in the trenches has overwhelmed teams in recent weeks as everyone has returned to full strength, and that was obvious in the 35-7 easy semifinal win over Maple Mountain.
Orem racked up 515 yards of total offense in the semifinals while it held Maple Mountain to a paltry 70 yards of total offense on 49 plays, with only six first downs.
Joe Smith was the catalyst offensively as he tallied 271 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. His 77-yard screen pass touchdown in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty as he showed off his speed to elude would-be tackles all the way down field.
Smith has established himself as the key piece to Orem’s offense this season.
“He’s answered the call when we’ve asked him, hey we need a first down, we need a big play, we need a spark on either side of the ball,” said Sewell.
Timpview’s 37-0 win over Salem Hills in the semifinals was in many ways a mirror image of Orem’s win.
Offensively, Targhee Lambson was a beast carrying the ball 32 times for 197 yards while Liu Aumavae passed for 177 yards and two scores.
Defensively, Timpview held Salem Hills to 105 yards and just six first downs.
“They didn’t cross the 50. Anytime you play a game and the other team doesn’t cross the 50, that’s pretty impressive. That’s bigger than a shutout,” said Stokes. “They’re going to have to play better this week.”
Stokes isn’t worried about his team matching Orem’s physicality, the key will be taking care of the football. In last year’s title game the T-Birds turned it over three times, which was too much to overcome offensively despite an outstanding defensive performance.
“I think we’re a more complete team than we were last year, I think we can do more things,” said Stokes, whose team seeks its first state title since 2014.
Orem, meanwhile, is seeking a fourth straight state title and a 17th straight playoff win.
A win on Friday would equal Timpview’s 17-game playoff winning streak from 2006 to 2009. Skyline holds the state record with 23 straight playoff wins from 1995 to 2000.
Timpview statistical breakdown
Timpview player to watch
Logan Fano, DE
Scoring offense: 31.9 ppg (5th in 5A)
Scoring defense: 19.9 ppg (6th in 5A)
Passing leader: Liu Aumavae (139-231, 60.2%, 1,748 yards, 14 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Targhee Lambson (119 carries, 792 yards, 5 TDs), Micah Beckstead (74 carries, 566 yards, 5 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Carsen Ryan (46 rec., 569 yards, 3 TDs), Chaid Allred (49 rec., 521 yards, 5 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Cael Richardson (95 tackles), Logan Fano (70 tackles)
Sack leaders: Logan Fano (12 sacks)
Interception leaders: Raider Damuni (3 INTs)
Orem statistical breakdown
Orem player to watch
Joe Smith, RB/S
Scoring offense: 33.3 ppg (3rd in 5A)
Scoring defense: 20.5 ppg (8th in 5A)
Passing leader: Micah Fe’a (12 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Joe Smith (9 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Joe Smith (5 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Jayden AhYou (85 tackles), Paxton Skipps (58 tackles)
Sack leaders: Jayden AhYou (16 sacks)
Felt’s Facts for Timpview High School
All-time record: 360-129 (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: 80-28
State championships: 11 (1986, 1991, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)
State championship record: 11-3
Felt’s Facts for Orem High School
All-time record: 535-310-21 (92 years)
Region championships: 28 (1935 co, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1970 co, 1974, 1985 co, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996 co, 2000 co, 2004-co, 2012, 2013 co, 2017, 2018, 2020 co)
Playoff appearances: 56
All-time playoff record: 64-47
State championships: 8 (1962, 1968, 1994, 2017, 2018, 2019)
State championship record: 8-7