High school football: In order to repeat as champs, Timpview must replace key personnel

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20 2013 9:35 a.m. MDT

Three Timpview starters talk 2013 T-bird football

PROVO — Expectations for Timpview typically run high for 2013, but players and coaches wouldn’t have it any other way.

On the heels of yet another 4A state championship, the Thunderbirds are again pegged as one of the favorites to win it all, again, in 2013.

Some players would prefer to shrink away from and downplay lofty expectations, but at Timpview, it’s all but impossible given the team’s rich history.

“I love it and I believe we thrive off of it,” said receiver Britain Covey. “I believe having all those expectations motivates us to work harder. It’s part of being here at Timpview, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”

In order to repeat, the Thunderbirds must replace some key parts on offense and on defense. Gone are standouts such as quarterback Jake Lloyd, receiver Dax Raymond and linebacker Pita Taumoepenu.

“I think quarterback is going to be the toughest position to replace,” said coach Cary Whittingham. “Jake was so good for us, and I don’t know if you can replace all the experience and leadership he brought to the position. We’re going to try, though, and we think we have two promising players competing there.”

Those two players are junior Isaiah Holloway and senior Preston Brown. Holloway offers a combo-style quarterback who can both run and throw the ball effectively while Brown is your classic drop-back type of signal-caller.

“It’s a good competition and we don’t know yet exactly who will play and how much, but we feel good about both players,” Whittingham said. “I think we may rotate them starting out the year, unless one of them separates themselves the final week of practice before our first game.”

At receiver the team looks well-stocked with Covey and senior Rhett Van Leeuwen expected to lead the way.

“Losing Dax Raymond was a big loss, but we have some good guys that can replace him and take some pressure off the quarterback,” Whittingham said.

The key will be replacing an offensive front that lost almost every starter from last season.

“We have the potential to be good on offense again this year, but we definitely need that offensive line to come together and step up,” Whittingham said. “I know that everyone thinks we’ll be all about defense this year, and we do look very good there, but I believe this offense could definitely be very good even though we lost our offensive coordinator there.”

As for the defense, the Thunderbirds look stacked. They return six key starters from last season and add the talents of Isaiah Nacua, who moved in from Las Vegas over the offseason. Early indications are that Nacua might be the most talented defensive end to play for Timpview since Bronson Kaufusi.

“He’s a very talented player and someone who will help us out a lot this season,” Whittingham said. “Our line should be very solid, but I really don’t think you can take one position on our defense and say it’s the strength. I believe we’ll be strong at linebacker and defensive back as well, so that’s obviously a very good thing.”

Defensive leaders include defensive lineman Gabe Reid and linebackers Max Anae and Pio Stowers, along with defensive back Emmett Tela.

“I don’t know if there’s any one guy you can pinpoint as a standout guy on defense, but if I had to point out anyone, it would be Emmett,” Whittingham said. “He played linebacker for us last year but will be a real good safety, and he’s really a team leader and someone we expect big things from.”

Timpview is again expected to run through Region 8 and make a strong big for another state championship.

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