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High school football: Timpview again the favorite in Region 8

Published: Sunday, Aug. 10 2014 9:05 p.m. MDT

Timpview quarterback Britain Covey runs with the ball against East High during the 4A Championship gem at Rice Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

Whatever region Timpview is in, the narrative almost never changes. It certainly hasn't changed heading into the 2014 season.

The Thunderbirds are the team to beat in Region 8 and there’s little-to-no debating that fact.

“It’s the same thing every year, and until someone knocks them off it’s going to be that way,” said Spanish Fork coach Kirk Chambers. “It’s obviously an outstanding program up there, so yeah, there’s no question Timpview is the favorite and I‘m certain everyone else would agree with that.”

Chambers is right.

A quick survey of Region 8 coaches reveals a strong consensus that the region is the Thunderbirds' to lose.

“Timpview is obviously the team to beat and the rest of us are working hard to get up to where they are as a program,” said Provo coach Tony McGeary.

Always a top program, Timpview has rarely ridden higher that it is coming into the 2014 season as the winner of two straight 4A state championships. Nothing short of another state championship this season — and every season — is the expectation Thunderbird coach Cary Whittingham has become familiar with.

“You get used to high expectations here, but it’s never as easy as I think a lot of people think,” Whittingham said. “We lose guys every year, like everyone else, and this year — well, we lost a lot of guys off of last year’s team and we’re now working to find guys who can play.”

Indeed, Timpview lost every starter on offense from a year ago save quarterback Britain Covey, whose return should prove huge.

“Having Britain Covey back is like having five starters back on offense,” Whittingham said. “He’s obviously a great playmaker and he’s a very good start on offense.”

Challenging Timpview for the Region 8 crown are some up-and-coming teams like Salem Hills, Maple Mountain and Spanish Fork. All three programs are blessed with extraordinary talent at quarterback, which could provide ample ammunition to take the next step.

For Salem Hills, big-time prospect Porter Gustin will play on both offense and defense. He's expected to play at quarterback. For Maple Mountain, Jaren Hall, who was recently offered by both Utah and BYU, will star at QB. For the Dons, Jason Money leads the charge along with his two years starting experience and his 6,250 career yards of total offense.

“Almost every school in region has a real good guy playing quarterback,” Whittingham said. “Each is a unique challenge and hopefully we’re up to it.”

While not having a well-known quarterback, Springville appears poised to contend once again after its second-place finish a year ago. The Red Devils lost some good starting talent, but players and coaches are confident heading into the season.

“Springville is always tough no matter what it seems,” Chambers said. “They have a great program there and they’ll be up there again this year.”

Looking to make some headway are Wasatch and Provo. The Wasps made the leap from 3A to 4A last season and struggled to adjust to the higher level of competition.

“It just takes time to catch up to the size and speed of a new classification,” said Wasatch coach Steve Coburn. “We’ve got to be more consistent. ... We’ll play at a real high level and then we’ll play at a low level, and we’ve just got to be consistent playing at a high level all the time."

As for Provo, it welcomes former Lone Peak coach McGeary to head the program and hopefully rebuild a program that has struggled mightily in recent years.

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