High school football: Tigers seize opportunity to earn No. 1 seed
OREM — Orem's entire perspective on the postseason changed dramatically Friday with the decision from the Utah High School Activities Association's Board of Trustees to forfeit two of Timpview's region wins for playing an ineligible player. The Tigers went from hoping for the second seed in the region behind Timpview to playing for the Region 8 championship.
Orem seized the day after its change of fortune and pounded Timpanogos 47-14 behind a 323-yard, four-touchdown passing performance by Taylor Camp.
"Our kids came out focused," said Orem coach Tyler Anderson. "They were excited because they had the chance to play for a region title. They came out and took care of business. Timpanogos is no slouch."
Timpanogos certainly isn't a slouch as the Timberwolves could have finished the season tied with Orem had they managed to pull out the win.
"We just told them we had to take care of business and let everything else take care of itself and worry about what happens then," said Anderson.
Orem actually finished in a tie for first with Maple Mountain with identical 6-1 region records, but since Orem beat Maple Mountain head-to-head earlier in the season, it comes away with the No. 1 seed.
It was clear that Orem had great energy to start the game as they returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. A block in the back penalty nullified the touchdown, but Camp connected with Tyler Valdez on a 14-yard touchdown a few minutes later to jump out to the 7-0 lead.
Two possessions later Camp threw another touchdown pass, this time from 30-yards out to Nolan Gray that pushed the lead to 13-0.
Three big plays for Orem played a huge part in putting the T-Wolves in an early, virtually insurmountable hole. The first came late in the first quarter when the Tigers' Jacob Wadsworth intercepted Kaden Bramall, which gave Orem the ball at midfield. Minutes later Danny Balser ran it into the end zone from the 3-yard line to give Orem a 19-0 lead with 27 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The next big play came courtesy of Orem's special teams, which forced a fumble on the kickoff at the Timpanogos 20. Orem struck quick on the next play with another touchdown pass from Camp to Gray to push the lead to 26-0, still in the first quarter.
"That was huge," said Anderson. "When the defense gets us turnovers we like to try and jump on it and get points out of it, which I think we did a great job of doing right there."
Timpanogos did get on the scoreboard with eight minutes to go in the second quarter when Bramall found Dyson Rivers for a 14-yard touchdown pass that cut the lead to 26-7.
Unfortunately for the T-Wolves, Orem sophomore James Wadsworth answered on the Tigers' next possession with a 28-yard touchdown run to push the score back up to 33-7, which was ultimately the halftime score. Wadsworth finished the game with 137 yards on 18 carries.
Timpanogos did score less than two minutes into the second half when Bramall connected again with Rivers on a 25-yard touchdown that narrowed the lead to 33-14.
The score stayed that way until Balser ran another one in, this time from 2 yards out to push the lead back to 40-14. Camp threw one more touchdown pass to Nic Anderson for the final margin.
Gray finished with two touchdown catches and 192 reception yards on 12 receptions.
Timpanogos finishes the region with a 4-3 record and sits all alone in fourth place.