High school football: Timpview T-Birds 2012 preview

Published: Friday, Aug. 10 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Note: Timpview finished with a 10-3 overall record and was first in Region 8 with a 7-0 record in 2011. It lost to East, 24-10, in the 4A semifinals.

PROVO — Timpview enters the 2012 season with a new coach, but it still has the same objective — to stay on top of its region and challenge for a state championship.

Gone is long-time coach Louis Wong, and in is long-time assistant coach Cary Whittingham, who has some big shoes to fill.

Whittingham adheres to the theory that if something isn’t broke, you don’t fix it. In being a long-time assistant, he’s very aware of why Timpview has been able to stay on top and subsequently aims to keep the T-Birds there.

“I’ve been acquainted with Louis (Wong) since we both played at BYU, so he’s a good friend and someone I have a ton of respect for,” said Whittingham. “I’m very aware of his accomplishments because I’ve been working for him in some capacity for a long time. We might change a few things, but we’ll mostly just try to do the same things that Louis did and hopefully have the same type of success.”

Whittingham inherits most of Wong’s existing staff and some key returning starters to help him maintain the standard Timpview has set over the years.

It won’t be easy, however.

Sure, the Thunderbirds ran the table in region play last season and haven’t dropped a region game since 2005, but they were threatened in 2011 unlike they have been for a long time. Three teams (Mountain View, Maple Mountain, and Timpanogos) came very close to pulling off upsets, which is something the program isn't used to.

“The bottom line is winning games and we were able to come out on top of those close games because we were doing things right,” said Whittingham. “We’re obviously hoping to get to the year’s past where it was dominant Timpview football and games didn’t come down to the last minute. Teams are getting better around us though, and they’re gunning for us, so it’s not going to be easy.”

Whittingham returns some key components from last year’s team in some key positions. Leading the way is senior quarterback Jake Lloyd.

“His leadership ability has grown in leaps and bounds this year,” said Whittingham. “His athleticism and pure football ability has also improved. I think he may be one of those late bloomers and I’ve seen a lot of maturity since last season, so I think he’s on his way to have a breakout year.”

Lloyd will have a potent group of receivers around him led by senior Dax Raymond.

“We have a lot of guys who can make plays for us at receiver,” said Whittingham. “Connor Mendivil, Rhett Van Leeuwen, Gregson Aspinall, along with Dax Raymond, are guys we have a lot of confidence in to lead the offense. There’s so many names that I know I’m missing.”

Line play on both sides of the ball is the big concern from Whittingham’s perspective. If the lines can sort themselves out and be effective, Timpview could well find itself on top of Region 8 and contending for a state championship.

“Line play will be key because we have a lot of question marks there,” said Whittingham. “If we can coach those guys up — make them into physical and aggressive players — then we could do some good things and potentially go far.”

Timpview Thunderbirds at a glance

Coach: Cary Whittingham is entering his first year as Timpview’s head coach after serving nine years as an assistant. He’s the brother of Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham and like his brother, comes from a defensive-coordinating background.

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