4A high school football championship: Offensive mistakes robbed Springville of chances
Since it had to deal with an offensive juggernaut lining up on the other side of the ball, Springville needed a near-flawless game to keep things from getting out of hand. Any such quest for perfection collapsed amid a flurry of ill-timed turnovers.
Timpview forced four interceptions and recovered a fumble to largely fuel a comfortable 35-6 victory at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Friday afternoon. Miscues by the Red Devils played a big part in helping the T-Birds clinch their fourth straight 4A football title.
Two of the T-Birds' three second-half touchdowns came directly off interceptions. Ofa Latu returned a pick 32 yards to give Timpview a 21-6 lead with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter. Then, Kapena Clark snagged another pass from Steve Bate on the opening play of the fourth quarter to set up a 3-yard pass from Trevor Brown to Josey Trammel that made it 28-6 barely a minute into the quarter.
Even for a team with a good defense like Springville's, those sort of mistakes created hurdles that were too difficult to clear.
"I can't say that they beat us," Red Devils coach Scott Mitchell said. "I just think we beat ourselves today."
Timpview came out with an opportunistic mentality after the Red Devils cut the score to 14-6 on Alema Key's five-yard run late in the third quarter. Key scored at the end of a long drive in which Springville marched 81 yards in 14 plays and chewed nearly six minutes off the clock.
Being a team accustomed to putting away opponents early, it did not sit well with the T-Birds when they suddenly saw the Red Devils gain new life so late in the game.
"When they came out and scored on us, it kind of put us in a situation we didn't like," Latu said. "Our coach told us to come out with composure and stay calm, and just do what we know."
Springville started out well enough in the composure department. The Red Devils kept Timpview off the scoreboard in the first quarter by forcing the T-Birds to fumble the ball away in the red zone on their opening drive.
But things started to unravel quickly after Timpview went up 7-0 on Trevor Brown's 4 yard TD run to open the second quarter. The T-Birds attempted an onside kick and successfully recovered it just a few seconds later.
Springville managed to force a punt on that drive but couldn't stop Timpview on the next one after Thomas Day fumbled the snap on a punt to give the T-Birds the ball at the Red Devils' 26-yard line. Timpview cashed in the turnover six plays later, taking a 14-0 lead on a 7-yard pass from Brown to Zack VanLeeuwen with 5:44 left before halftime.
"Our defense has played tough all year long and they played tough today," Mitchell said. "We put them in a heck of a bind. It's hard. You can't win against good teams when you turn the ball over like we did. I mean that's the difference in the ballgame."
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