Mountain Crest is a good team and it could have gone either way and somehow our boys willed their way to win. —Timpview coach Cary Whittingham
SALT LAKE CITY — Working hard, never giving up and simply making plays at critical junctures have defined Timpview this season. All three attributes were tested to the max when it counted most Friday in the 4A championship game, but, as usual, the Thunderbirds passed the test.
By passing this last, final examination, Timpview walked away with the 4A title as it outlasted Mountain Crest 38-31 in double overtime at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Ultimately, quarterback Jake Lloyd made two of the best plays of his stellar career to put the T-Birds' defense in position to finally finish off the Mustangs.
“Mountain Crest is a good team and it could have gone either way and somehow our boys willed their way to win," said Timpview coach Cary Whittingham.
The game was tight throughout, with Mountain Crest taking the lead late following an 11-yard touchdown pass from Jamison Webb to Faimafili Laulu-Pututau with 1:54 left on the clock. The Mustang sideline and crowd went crazy, but the Timpview offense remained calm — knowing it had plenty of time to win or at least put the game into overtime.
Lloyd engineered a nine-play drive that reached just short of the Mountain Crest end zone before kicker Tyler Solarzano calmly booted through a 31-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. For Solarzano it was a chance at redemption after he missed a critical field goal late against Alta back in Week 1.
“He’s had some rough times,” Whittingham said about his kicker. “He missed a field goal that really mattered at the first of the year, but I told him that he was going to win us a game and he needed to hang in there and 13 games later he did it.”
Mountain Crest received the first possession of overtime with running back Eddy Hall getting his number called on for five straight runs before scoring from 10 yards out to give the Mustangs a 31-24 lead.
Timpview found itself in a critical fourth-and-five from the 20-yard line on ensuing first possession when Lloyd made his first signature play of the game — and his career. With Mountain Crest flushing him outside the pocket Lloyd looked to run for the first before encountering a would-be tackler just short of the line of scrimmage. After sustaining a hit he lofted up a pass to a wide-open Connor Mendivil in the end zone.
“I used my legs like my brother (Dallas Lloyd) did and then I hoped I wasn’t across the line of scrimmage. ... I just wasn’t just going to go down,” Lloyd said. “I just threw it up and we scored.”
Timpview had the first possession of the second overtime period and quickly found itself in a third-and-16 situation from the 31-yard line. It was then that Lloyd made his second signature play — threading the needle to receiver Braydon Galland for a 24-yard completion to set his team up with first-and-goal from the 7. On the next play Lloyd dove into the end zone on a scoring run.
“We had been trying to get that post all game, but we’d just been hitting the corners and the outs,” Lloyd said about his third-and-16 pass. “Finally I just turned back, lobbed it up and (Galland) made a heck of a catch.”
It was then up to the defense to finish Mountain Crest off, and the T-Bird defenders responded. On third-and-7 Pio Stowers busted through the line to sack Webb for a 5-yard loss. On the very next play Pita Taumoepenu recorded his fourth sack of the game and ended it for the Mustangs.
“Our defense is awesome,” Lloyd said. “Our defensive line is absolutely amazing. Pita and Gabe played an amazing game with their sacks and they finished that game.”
Timpview's players rushed the field at the end — celebrating the culmination of all their hardwork and overcoming of adversity. After being dealt a harsh penalty due to playing an ineligible player the team remained focused and determined and achieved its ultimate goal.
“They took away our coach. They took away our wins. They took away our region championships. They took away what was so valuable to us inside. But what they couldn’t take away from us is how hard we worked,” Lloyd said. “So at the end, after we worked so hard, it’s amazing to have all of our work pay off.”