PROVO — The top players for the top teams are almost always the ones who put in the most work. Top players don't just show up the first day of practices and go from there, but report for the season having maxed-out every opportunity to improve themselves in the offseason.
Jake Lloyd and Dax Raymond form one of the best, if not the best, quarterback/receiving combinations in the state — and it's not by accident. The duo put in a lot of work in the offseason along with other key offensive players, and the dividends are apparent.
Lloyd has thrown for 3,566 yards and 50 touchdowns with just six interceptions this season on a 65 percent completion percentage. Raymond has been on the receiving end of 22 of those touchdowns and has 72 receptions for 1,366 total yards.
"We worked so hard in getting to the point where we're at now," said Lloyd. "I'd get as many of my teammates out as often as I could to make sure we were at our best when the season came around, and it's obviously paid off for us."
Lloyd claims to have worked out with his receivers every day of the offseason, save for a two-week period he took off for vacation. He'd attend as many camps, 7-on-7 tournaments and other functions as possible, but mostly he'd just call the guys up and they'd practice on their own.
The motivation was to simply rid themselves of the bad taste left over from the 2011 season.
"We knew that this was our final year and we were determined not to end it the same way we did last year," said Lloyd. "This is the last chance a lot of us will have to play football and certainly to play football here at Timpview, and we just wanted to make sure we had no regrets."
Timpview was fortunate to retain the services of offensive coordinator Chad Van Orden this season, and the offense has benefited greatly as a result. Van Orden runs a college-style offense that depends on a lot of line checks and option routes and puts a premium on quarterbacks and receivers being on the same page.
"We're to the point now when I know that Jake (Lloyd) is seeing exactly what I am when we line up," said Raymond. "We can both see how a defense lines up, and even though he makes checks at the line, we both know exactly what route I need to run and when he needs to throw the ball."
Raymond certainly isn't the only receiver on the team who has that connection with Lloyd. By getting guys to work out and getting them to put in the time, the entire Timpview offense is running well.
"Jake (Lloyd) has been a great leader for us and a lot of our seniors have been like that," said coach Cary Whittingham. "Jake has worked as hard as anyone I've coached in the offseason, and players see that and they've sort of rallied around him. And that's all you can ask for, as a coach, from your seniors."
Lloyd has benefited greatly from his teammates and will end his career regarded as one of the top quarterbacks ever to pass through the program — right up there with names such as Brett Engemann and Danny Southwick.
"He's right up there, no question," said Van Orden who has coached at Timpview for 23 years. "He leads this offense and knows it as well as anyone I've ever coached. He's also benefited from some great receivers, but it all starts with Jake and his leadership and how he runs things when he's out on the field. He's as good as any of the quarterbacks I've coached in that regard."
The work isn't quite done for Lloyd and his teammates, and they will have to beat a very good Mountain Crest team to acheive their ultimate goal — a state title.
"It's now or never and we're going to put it all out there on Friday, no question," said Lloyd. "We've worked too hard to quit now and I believe that myself and everyone else will put it all out there, and if we do that — if we just continue to work like we have all year — then I'm confident that we'll reach our final goal, which is to win a state championship."
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