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High school football: T-birds resurging under new coach

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 26 2012 7:19 p.m. MDT

PROVO — The more things change, the more they stay the same for the Timpview football program. After being rocked by the dismissal of head coach Louis Wong in the offseason, the Thunderbirds are in a familiar spot — running roughshod through their region.

After several teams came within a few points of knocking Timpview off its Region 8 pedestal last season, players and coaches are making sure that's not the case this year. Through three region games, two of them against the rising programs of Maple Mountain and Timpanogos, no team has come within three touchdowns of the resurgent Thunderbirds.

Indeed, Timpview looks like it always has and even better than it has in recent years. The key, according to first-year coach Cary Whittingham, has been keeping things relatively the same.

"I'm just trying to do what I've learned from Louis (Wong) after being his assistant for a long time," Whittingham said. "I've maybe done a few things different, but credit goes to what Louis has built and to all my assistants — nothing has changed there, but most of all, the credit for our early success goes to the players."

All parts have come together to provide five straight wins after a narrow loss to 5A power Alta in Week 1. Quarterback Jake Lloyd, who through six games appears to be one of the top quarterbacks in the state, has been the catalyst.

Lloyd has thrown for 1,635 yards, 21 touchdowns and just four interceptions this year.

"Jake just understands the system and knows where to throw the football and I'm glad we're not playing against him," Whittingham said. "It's nothing flashy, but he put in a ton of work in the offseason and you could tell early on that he was going to have a big year for us. He's going to get a lot of looks from colleges here soon with how he's playing."

The chief concern for Whittingham entering the season was adequate play on both sides of the line. Six games in that line play has completely sufficed and has been a critical on both sides of the ball.

"The line play has been coming along very well," Whittingham said. "All four of our starters on the defensive line have really stepped up to give us good play. Guys like Pita Taumoepenu, Gabe Reid, Noah Cobb and Taniela Palu along with our five senior offensive linemen — they've all gelled very well and our line play has been very good and has led to a lot of our success."

A 4A state championship is always the goal at Timpview and it appears to be a realistic goal this season. Whittingham understands that his team hasn't arrived and will need to work on several things if it hopes to achieve the ultimate goal.

"We need to cut (out) some of the penalty issues we've had," Whittingham said. "As the season goes on, every team tends to go away from the individual stuff to the team stuff. But we need to make sure our assignments stay sound and that the offense remains on the same page. More than anything that's what we need to work on."

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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