WOODS CROSS — The Thunderbird road show continued for the second straight week, and like the previous week, continued its merry way.
Jake Lloyd threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns as Timpview whipped the Woods Cross Wildcats 35-14 in a 4A quarterfinal. With the victory, the Thunderbirds advanced to play East in a highly anticipated matchup next Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Timpview started quickly. Despite handily winning the Region 8 title, the T-birds were forced to accept a No. 4 seed due?to well-publicized UHSAA sanctions that involved the use of ineligible players.
Coach Cary Whittingham welcomed the playoffs, saying the games helped the players forget the issues.
That seemed obvious. After dismantling defending 4A champion Logan last week, the T-birds had a lot shorter bus ride and a beautiful day. They received the opening kickoff and scored in six plays. Lloyd was on target and, when he wasn't, receivers like Rhett VanLeeuwen, Dax Raymond and Braydon Gailand made circus catches.
"We knew we needed to come out fast," said Whittingham. "We have a stable of good receivers that know how to do their job.
"We like (playing on the road)," he added. "The kids eat it up knowing they have to go out on the road."
Woods Cross, which was eliminated last season by Timpview, was excited to get Timpview on its field this time and the home crowd was energized, even throwing confetti onto the field before the game. However, less than three minutes after the opening kickoff, Timpview led 7-0 on Gregson Aspinall's 6-yard run The T-birds increased the margin to 21-0 by halftime.
They didn't exactly dominate, but the defense held Woods Cross at pivotal times.
"We had some chances; we just stubbed our toes," said Wildcat coach Justin Spencer. "We knew we had to play a really good game. That's a good team and I wouldn't be surprised if they won it all."
After Timpview took the early lead, the Woods Cross tandem of quarterback Skyler Farnes and running back Sean Barton led the Wildcats down the field. However, their meticulous 15-play drive ended on a fourth-down play at Timpview's 12 yard-line.
The T-birds got the ball back and, just like their first drive, quickly found the end zone. This time, Aaron Eckhoff finished it with an 8-yard touchdown catch from Lloyd.
"That's the best receiving corps we've seen," said Spencer. "Their running back (Aspinall) is a beast and their quarterback executes. We haven't been dissected like that all year."
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Aspinall had 73 yards on 11 carries, but the receivers were the biggest playmakers. The 6-foot-5 VanLeeuwen caught six passed for 91 yards, Raymond snared five balls for 89 yards (and two touchdowns) and Gailland was 4-100. Lloyd, who has now thrown 46 touchdown passes this season, was never intercepted.
Farnes was almost as impressive for Woods Cross, throwing to eight different receivers for 258 yards. The Wildcats (9-3) scored both of their touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it was too late.