SANDY — Friday's showdown between the Alta Hawks and Timpview Thunderbirds may have been a nonregion game. But it didn't feel like one as both teams attempted to avoid a 1-2 start.
“I definitely think it was a must-win — avoid losing two in a row and this week,” Timpview quarterback Britain Covey explained.
Timpview fell behind 14-3 early, but the T-Birds — with Covey filling in at quarterback in place of an injured teammate — didn't get rattled.
Listed generously in the program at 5 foot 10, Covey originally maneuvered through Alta’s defense by way of foot to erase the deficit. Then, after the defense crept up to contain his scrambling presence, he dissected the secondary through play-action to lead the T-Birds to a convincing 41-28 win on the back of 38 unanswered points.
“Every game you want to win,” Timpview coach Cary Whittingham said. “It’s a must-win every time you play. But, we did invest a whole lot into this game. We wanted to use it as a springboard into region, so in that respect — yeah (it was).”
Covey finished 15 of 21 through the air for 153 yards and two touchdowns — one to Mitch Stephenson and another to Kendall Tuua. He added 112 yards on 18 carries and an additional two scores on the ground.
“What can I say? Our line did great today,” said Covey, who normally plays wide receiver. “We could run; we could roll out; we could pocket pass — I give all the credit to my line. They did amazing tonight.”
“We’ll evaluate,” Whittingham said when asked if Covey’s performance demanded a permanent position change. “He had to fill in and he stepped up and did a big-time job.”
Following a 22-yard field goal by Timpview's Zach Simpson, Alta quarterback Chipper Lucero located his favorite target — Mack Richards — on a routine hitch route. Richards evaded one would-be defender, and raced down the sideline for 71 yards. Then, six seconds into the second quarter, Lucero connected with Richards again on a 6-yard flair for a 14-3 lead.
“They hang together really well,” Whittingham said. “We knew if we just kept plugging away at it and doing it right we’d (be all right). To their credit they played smart and kept doing that.”
Timpview, which fell to Pleasant Grove last week, responded quickly on an ensuing five-play, 80-yard drive that culminated when Covey doubled back across the grain and tiptoed untouched from 32 yards out. The T-Birds pulled within 14-13 with another field goal by Simpson before capturing a 20-14 lead on another Covey run with 1:07 left in the half.
From that point the Thunderbirds exposed Alta’s inability to gain consistent yardage on offense. The talented defensive front, led by Isaiah Nacua, sacked Lucero and held Alta to minus-22 yards rushing. The pressure equated to a 27-14 halftime lead after a blocked punt with 11 seconds left in the second quarter.
“We’ve got some very good talent,” Whittingham said. “It was a good game plan, but we’ve got some very good talent. Those front four are as good as anybody in the state. I can’t imagine there’s a better group.”
Flustered and out of sync, the Hawks’ troubles reached the pinnacle in the fourth quarter. Lucero, avoiding an onslaught of defenders, overthrew Nate Teahan, which Hasting Madsen snagged for a 31-yard interception return, and a 41-14 lead, with 9:30 remaining.
The Lucero-Richards connection accounted for two more scores late in the game. Lucero finished 18 of 32 for 312 yards. Richards hauled in eight receptions for 189 yards and four touchdowns.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @TPhibbsDNews
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company