Region 8 football preview: Plenty of changes, but Timpview still picked to be on top
PROVO — Leading up to its second year since realignment, Region 8 has undergone some notable changes. The region will introduce four new head coaches, and many traditional doormats looking like contenders entering the 2012 season.
Despite all the changes, however, one thing remains the same — Timpview is the team to beat.
It wasn't hard to predict Timpview as the top team in the newly-formed region last year, nor has it been difficult to put it on top of any region in 4A over the past decade. The Thurnderbirds have simply been the most dominant 4A team in the state for a long while, and predictably went undefeated in region play last season.
Timpview's dominance is well-noted by opposing Region 8 coaches and admired.
"You look at what Timpview has been able to accomplish up there and it's phenomenal," said Timpanogos coach Ed Larson. "Where they're at is what we're all striving for, and I think we're all improving and there's going to be a lot of tough teams in our region."
Timpanogos is one of three region teams that came within three points of upsetting the Thunderbirds last sesason, along with Mountain View and Maple Mountain. This year the goal is to finish the job and unseat Timpview from its perch.
"We're definitely confident that we can beat Timpview," said Timpanogos running back Max Hill. "They're going to be good — they're always good, but I think we're getting more confident going against them and I think other teams are too."
Timpanogos, Mountain View and Maple Mountain all return good experience with hopes of contending for the region title, but they're certainly not the only contenders. Take Orem, who was picked to finish second in the Region 8 coach's straw poll after its impressive run last season.
"We did a lot of good things last year," said Orem coach Tyler Anderson.
"We put in a new offense, and I think our kids picked it up very well for a first year. Kids bought into what we did and this year, with that first year behind us, I think we have a chance to be that much better."
Springville is the team who has seen the most success against Timpview, upsetting the Thunderbirds in the 2010 state playoffs. A lot of was expected of the Red Devils last season, but it didn't measure up — finishing in fifth place and out of the state playoffs.
Springville enters 2012 with a new head coach and hopes of regaining its stature as one of the premier 4A programs.
"Our goal is to get back to the top, but it's going to be tough," said Springville coach Willy Child. "Timpview is still the top team, but I think Timpanogos will be very good, and now you have Maple Mountain who improved a ton last year and they should be good again.
"Orem will be very good again and just everyone in this region is a team you're going to have to be ready for every week."
Provo and Salem Hills both have new coaching staffs and new attitudes with hopes of making noise in region play. Provo coach Cody Mallory comes in clear from Michigan while Salem Hills coach Joel Higginson returns to where he grew up.
"I love this area and I love the opportunity I have to make Salem Hills a competitive program," said Higginson. "We have a lot of work to do, but we have great kids with great attitudes."
Perhaps no first-year coach is under as much pressure as Timpview's Cary Whittingham, however. Whittingham takes over for the departed Louis Wong — who led the Thunderbirds to four state championships and a .885 winning percentage in his seven years.