4A high school football preview: Timpview at Woods Cross

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012 10:19 p.m. MDT

Timpview (6-5) at Woods Cross (9-2)

4A state tournament quarterfinal

Friday, 3 p.m.

Parry’s Power Guide: Timpview by 8

All-time series: Timpview leads 3-1

Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Woods Cross’ Justin Spencer and Timpview’s Cary Whittingham

Last meeting: Oct. 28, 2011 (4A first round) — Timpview 31, Woods Cross 14

WOODS CROSS — When Woods Cross and Timpview meet in the quarterfinals, it’ll mark the crossing paths of two programs that have experienced much different postseason histories.

For Timpview, the illustrious success is nearly unparalleled. The Thunderbirds, in 36 years, have qualified for the playoffs 32 times and have garnished 57 wins and eight state titles, including four straight from 2006-09, in that time span.

On the flip side, Woods Cross — also 36 years since its inception — has punched a ticket to the postseason 14 times with a 10-13 record while never appearing in the state championship.

The Wildcats, in fictional terms, have the opportunity to slay the dragon on their home field Friday night to return to the semifinals for the first time since 1993.

Timpview coach Cary Whittingham, in his first year with the program, is aware that the raucous environment at Woods Cross could reach new heights with fans spewing excitement to knock off 4A’s perennial powerhouse and avenge the 31-14 loss to the Thunderbirds in the first round last season.

“They’re a good team — a lot of talent. What we need to emphasize is a quick start,” Whittingham said of the importance to remove the crowd from the equation early. “(We need to) try to jump on them with a quick start cause I know they have enough talent that if we don’t have our best game we’re going to be in for a long, long battle.”

Timpview dealt with a similar predicament in its 49-14 win against defending champion Logan in the first round last week. The Thunderbirds, who were forced to forfeit four games after being found guilty of participating with an ineligible player, held the Grizzlies 22 points below their season average and the second lowest total the entire year.

“Trying to keep the distractions down, that’s what we’ve tried to do all season, because there have been a lot of distractions,” Whittingham said in reference to the success at Logan. “Trying to have the kids focus on what’s important and not concerned with anything else. Letting the kids know that they do have to work hard. They knew that Logan was going to be a tough opponent and they worked hard and that’s the same boat we’re in with Woods Cross.”

Woods Cross, a home underdog, needs to keep Timpview quarterback Jake Lloyd in check if it expects to suit up next week. Lloyd has passed for 3,015 yards and 42 touchdowns compared to only six interceptions. After throwing for only one score in the season opener, Lloyd has thrown for three or more every game since.

His main target has been 6-foot-5, 217-pound, Dax Raymond. The senior has corralled 60 receptions for 1,172 yards and 17 touchdowns.

“The Jake to Dax connection is hopefully going to be there this game — it’s a very important part of our offense,” Whittingham said. “We have some other capable receivers that he can put the ball into if they decide to focus on Dax. But that is a huge part of our offense, that ability to get the ball downfield. We’re counting on that.”

The Wildcats, once again, will need to control the line of scrimmage offensively. This season Woods Cross has predicated itself on the run after switching from the spread under first-year coach Justin Spencer.

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