PROVO — It wasn't exactly the beating Timpview laid on Westlake early in the season, but Friday's game — in which the Thunderbirds squeaked by the Thunder, 24-17, with a last-minute touchdown — was precisely what Timpview head coach Louis Wong was wary of.
"Beating a team twice in the same season is difficult. They're thinking, 'Hey, we already beat them.'" he said. "Now we've got to put a whole game together."
The T-Birds (10-2) overcame a bad snap, a pick-six and a muff on a punt return to barely survive and advance in the state 4A playoffs, and Wong's message of playing strong for four quarters seemed to resonate.
"We realize that we need to play the whole game and not just the second half," wide receiver Austin Fullmer said.
Fullmer was wide open when he hauled in the game-winner, a 49-yard toss from Jake Lloyd, with 51 seconds remaining.
"That play seemed like it was in slow motion, like it took forever," said Fullmer, who admitted that the thought of him dropping the pass flashed through his mind.
The Lloyd-to-Fullmer heroics came after a clutch 41-yard field goal by Westlake's Stephen Lifferth tied the game at 17-17 with 3:01 to go.
The winning touchdown was the second touchdown that Lloyd and Fullmer connected for. The first came in the opening quarter, but was preceded by a couple big mistakes.
A third miscue — a muff on an attempted punt return catch — gave the Thunder the ball at midfield and led to Lifferth's game-tying field goal.
But Westlake's last-minute attempt to knot the score again was extinguished by an Emmett Tela interception on a pass that was tipped with 31 seconds remaining.