SALT LAKE CITY — After all the offseason workouts, two-a-days, regular and postseason games, two teams remain in the 4A classification — Mountain Crest and Timpview. The two teams match up today at 6:30 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium to determine the 4A state champion.
"We battled hard to get here and the kids have worked and put in the time they needed to, but you have another team in Mountain Crest that I'm sure did a lot of the same to get here," said Timpview coach Cary Whittingham. "It should be a great game."
Timpview defeated 4A powerhouse and season-long favorite East in the semifinals 32-14 in what many billed the game of the year. The win will go for naught, however, if the Thunderbirds can't take care of business against the Mustangs.
"I think we realized after how big of a win it was, but every game in the playoffs has been big for us," Whittingham said. "We had to travel to play a good team in Logan, and then at Woods Cross, and our kids had to get up for those, and I'm confident that we'll be focused and prepared heading into the game against Mountain Crest."
Timpview will rely on a balanced attack led by quarterback Jake Lloyd.
"The difficulty in defending Timpview is you can't just shut down one thing since they do everything so well on offense," said Mountain Crest coach Mark Wootton. "Their quarterback will probably be the best quarterback we've faced, and we just have to weather the storm of what they'll bring at us offensively and make sure we tackle well."
Mountain Crest slugged out a win in the semifinals against Highland 14-6 when last Friday's weather was at its very worst. Leading up to their semifinal game, the Mustangs were putting up 30-40 points on a consistent basis.
"It's a very well-run offense from what I've seen on film," Whittingham observed. "It's a team that will give you a great effort and a team that isn't likely to beat themselves. They have a very talented running back, and their defense is a tough one."
Eddy Hall leads the charge out of the Mustang backfield with his 1,504 rushing yards on the year. Quarterback Jamison Webb has thrown for 1,981 yards on the year and will primarily target tight end Faimafili Laulu-Pututau, who has 52 receptions for 813 yards on the year.
Mountain Crest's success is predicated on a great work ethic and a great sense of unity developed when the players were very young.
"We're not a school that has a lot of kids transferring in and out," Wootton said. "Most of our kids have grown up together and been friends since they were in the second grade, and we feel that's an advantage for us. It's a very tight-knit community up here, and our players have represented that community well and will do so again on Friday — win or lose."
It's been a season of a lot of turmoil and distraction for Timpview due to clerical issues and other things completely out of the players' control. Despite the issues, they've remained focused and are on the cusp of the ultimate goal.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of this team for how they've focused and have dealt with all the distractions," Whittingham said. "We have great senior leaders, and the attitude of everyone has just been tremendous. We have one more game left, but no matter what happens, I'll be just proud of all of them for what they've accomplished."
4A on the air
Timpview vs. Mtn. Crest
Today, 6:30 p.m.
Parry's Power: Timpview by 2
Scoring offense: 40.2 ppg
Scoring defense: 14.1 ppg
Passing leader: Jake Lloyd (208-321, 64.8%, 3,566 yards, 50 TDs, 6 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Gregson Aspinall (141 carries, 896 yards, 11 TDs), Braydon Galland (48, 242, 1)
Receiving leader: Dax Raymond (72 rec., 1,366 yards, 22 TDs), Rhett Van Leeuwen (37, 730, 9)
Tackles leader: Emmett Tela (87 tackles)
Sacks leader: Pita Taumoepenu (21 sacks)
Int. leader: Isaiah Holloway (4 INTs)
MTN. CREST STATS
Scoring offense: 31.9 ppg
Scoring defense: 10.6 ppg
Passing leader: Jamison Webb (153-248, 61.7%, 1,981 yards, 18 TDs, 11 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Eddy Hall (216, 1,504 yards, 17 TDs), Jamison Webb (139, 228, 7)
Receiving leaders: Faimafili Laulu-Pututau (52 rec., 813 yards, 8 TDs), Gaje Ferguson (26, 289, 3)
Tackles leader: Troy Netzley (65 tackles)
Sacks leader: Gaje Ferguson (4 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Nick Watterson (3 INTs)
8/17 … Alta 33, Timpview 31
8/24 … Timpview 28, Westlake 0 (forfeit loss)
8/31 … Timpview 36, L. Peak 33 (forfeit loss)
9/7 … Timpview 48, Mtn. View 7 (forfeit loss)
9/14 … Timpview 38, Maple 7 (forfeit loss)
9/21 … Timpview 38, Timpanogos 13
9/28 … Timpview 34, Orem 12
10/4 … Timpview 57, Salem Hills 0
10/10 … Timpview 48, Springville 20
10/18 … Timpview 48, Provo 16
10/26 … Timpview 49, Logan 14
11/2 … Timpview 35, Woods Cross 14
11/9 … Timpview 32, East 14
MTN. CREST GAME-BY-GAME
8/17 … Mtn. Crest 54, Mtn. View 14
8/24 … Lone Peak 23, Mtn. Crest 21
8/31 … Woods Cross 26, Mtn. Crest 23
9/7 … Mtn. Crest 34, Weber 3
9/14 … Mtn. Crest 44, Sky View 14
9/21 … Mtn. Crest 42, Bonneville 0
9/28 … Mtn. Crest 20, Box Elder 13
10/5 … Mtn. Crest 17, Logan 10
10/12 … Mtn. Crest 38, Roy 6
10/17 … Mtn. Crest 31, Northridge 7
10/26 … Mtn. Crest 36, Timpanogos 6
11/2 … Mtn. Crest 41, Bountiful 0
11/9 … Mtn. Crest 14, Highland 6
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company