High school football: Timpview remains the overwhelming favorite in new-look Region 8

Published: Sunday, Aug. 11 2013 8:30 p.m. MDT

Mountain Crest and Timpview play Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, for the 4A State title at Rice Eccles Stadium. Timpview won 38-31 in double overtime.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Even though realignment has significantly altered the landscape of Region 8, the synopsis for the top of the league remains the same heading into the 2013 prep football season.

Timpview is the team to beat.

The Thunderbirds, on the heels of a 4A state championship, remain the bully of whatever region they’re in.

“I mean, Timpview, they’re Timpview, and what else can you say?” said Spanish Fork coach Kirk Chambers. “It’s one of the top programs in the state and it’s been that way for as long as I can remember. Timpview is obviously the team to beat and I’m sure every coach in the region would agree with that.”

Chambers is right. Region 8 coaches voted Timpview as the overwhelming favorite to win the league this fall.

For Timpview coach Cary Whittingham, the lofty expectations every year are to be expected.

“You wish you could sneak up on people, I guess, but being the favorite every year — that’s the expectations all the great coaches and players have built here, so you’re used to it,” Whittingham said. “It doesn’t matter who we have coming back, what coaches we lost. Big things are always expected from us, and I think that’s probably a good thing.”

Whittingham has his work cut out for him to match last season’s success. The team lost most of its key contributors on offense, along with its offensive coordinator, Chad Van Orden.

“Replacing Jake Lloyd at quarterback — that’s certainly not going to be easy,” Whittingham said. “We lost almost our entire line, most of our receivers and our running back. You throw in losing your offensive coordinator, and that’s going to be the story for us this year. It’s going to come down to our offense and if we can get that to be a productive unit for us.”

Whittingham is also wary of his competition in Region 8 — particularly of a team new to not only the leauge but to 4A classification.

Spanish Fork makes the jump to 4A a year after reaching the 3A state championship, where it lost to Dixie 49-21.

“I know the players they have there, the coach, and I know they’ll be anxious to prove that they belong in 4A,” Whittingham said. “I think they certainly belong here and I think they’ll be among the most competitive teams we have in our region.”

The Dons return some good talent from last season, starting with quarterback Jason Money, who threw for 2,768 yards and 26 touchdowns last season along with rushing for 491 yards and four touchdowns.

“We have players and we just need to put them in the right spots, but it’s obviously great to have a player like Jason Money back,” said Chambers. “You rebuild every year and we’re going to try and build off the run we had last year.”

Despite the challenges of a new classification, Chambers is happy to be back in Region 8.

“There are some real good natural rivalries here with Salem Hills, Springville, Maple Mountain and some other schools, so yeah, I love being back here. It’s where we belong,” he said.

Springville is a team intent on righting many of the wrongs from last season. The Red Devils struggled to a 2-8 overall record under first-year coach Willy Child.

“We obviously need to be better, and I think we have enough guys returning that we will be better,” Child said. “Kids aren’t happy with last season, but they’ve responded by working harder in the offseason, and I think we’re set to improve a lot. But we obviously have to keep working.”