If there was ever a time when Timpview's 4A football dynasty was going to be derailed, Thursday night was supposed to be it.
The T-Birds were facing a prolific Mountain Crest offense and a team motivated to avenge two straight semifinal losses to them. Timpview has dealt with injuries and adversity throughout the season, and the team's aura of invincibility was supposedly disappearing.
They looked as vulnerable as a freight train.
Timpview physically overpowered Mountain Crest on both sides of the ball in cruising to a 38-21 win over the Mustangs at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The T-Birds' offense rushed for 298 yards, and their defense forced five turnovers and sacked Mountain Crest star quarterback Alex Kuresa five times.
"It's amazing how our team responds to all the pressure," said Timpview coach Louie Wong. "We got a lot of men out there. That's what we're trying to raise is a bunch of men out there and I think we're doing a decent job."
Football-wise, that point can't be argued. The T-Birds will try and win their fourth straight 4A championship when they face Springville in the title game at Rice-Eccles Stadium next Friday at 11 a.m. Timpview, which has won 46 of its last 48 games, will be heavily favored in that game after a dominant effort against the Mustangs.
Timpview's offensive line of Alex Moon, Kalvin Cusick, Nathan Svensson, Tevia Tolutau and Tyson Tiatia took control of the game from the outset. The T-Birds gained 154 yards on their first five plays from scrimmage and scored two touchdowns off them. Quarterback Trevor Brown had the game of his life, rushing for 187 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries.
Brown had gaping holes to run through, and he refused to take the credit for his big performance.
"Not one person can win you a football game and that showed tonight," Brown said. "Our line played great and our defense played excellent."
Mountain Crest stayed in the game until early in the third quarter. The Mustangs only trailed 21-14 at halftime and drove to Timpview's 23-yard line on their first possession of the second half. But on a first down, Kuresa was sacked hard by Mike Tyler, fumbled, and Timpview tackle Peter Quiterio recovered it.
The T-Birds then put together a 63-yard scoring drive and Brown capped it with a 38-yard touchdown run to put Timpview up 28-14. Mountain Crest didn't make it a one-score game again.
Anytime Mountain Crest seemed to be getting any life in the game, Timpview's defense got things back under control. The T-Birds' defense recorded all of their five turnovers in the second half with Ofa Latu leading the way with two interceptions.
"They played us so well and they were so well prepared," said Mountain Crest coach Mark Wootton. "They deserved to win the game. It's going to be hard for anybody to beat them the rest of this year."
Latu was one of three Timpview defensive players to change positions for Thursday's game. Latu, normally an outside linebacker, moved inside and his main job was to spy Kuresa. The strategy worked, as Kuresa only rushed for 27 yards, and a lot of the time he was running for his life as it looked like there was a constant jailbreak in Mountain Crest's backfield.
"We've got some playmakers," Wong said. "Ofa did a great job today stepping up."
He did, along with the rest of a stifling defense.
"Our defense was moving guys around, learning a new scheme and they stepped it up huge," Brown said. "We held Mountain Crest to 21 points and that's unheard of this year."
Timpview 38, Mtn. Crest 21
Springville 29, Dixie 21, D10
Juan Diego 35, Wasatch 14, D8
(At Rice-Eccles Stadium)
Park City vs. Hurricane, 11 a.m.
Alta vs. Bingham, 2:30 p.m.
Davis vs. Hunter, 6:30 p.m.