PROVO — The good news for Timpanogos is it made the playoffs after securing a 3-3 region record and a No. 4 seed. The bad news would seemingly be having to play defending 4A state champion Timpview in the first round.
Timpanogos coach Ed Larsen doesn’t necessarily see taking on the Thunderbirds out of the gate as a bad thing, however.
“If you’re going to win a championship, you’re going to have to play Timpview eventually, so why not in the first round?” he said. “Heck, this is probably the best time to go up against them if you think about it. Maybe we can surprise them in the first round, but I’m looking at this game as a great opportunity for our team.”
Sneaking up on Timpview won’t be an easy task, however, simply because it’s been there before — lot’s of times.
“Winning region and being a big favorite entering the playoffs is something we’re used to here,” said Timpview coach Cary Whittingham. “Our players expect to be on top and I think we’ve learned to take one game at a time — that your most important game is the one you’re playing.”
The Thunderbirds went 6-0 in region and 9-1 overall to qualify for a No. 1 seed. The team features a productive offense, but it’s the defense that has been the headliner. Teams averaged a mere 12.2 points per game against Timpview, with region foes averaging a paltry 6.5 points.
“It’s real hard to pinpoint just one or two guys that are standouts for our defense since I think we’re strong at every position,” Whittingham said. “It’s a complete group and is as good as any group I’ve coached. They’re experienced, they respond well to what we tell them and I’ve been very pleased with their play.”
Larsen believes the strength of Timpview’s defense is the front seven. “It’s the best front seven in the entire state as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
On offense, the Thunderbirds are led by quarterback Britain Covey, who has thrown for 1,228 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 877 yards and another 12 touchdowns.
“He’s just like you’d expect a Covey to be,” Whittingham said. “He’s smart, he’s shifty and he just knows how to make plays in any situation. He’s not a big guy, but he’s the type of playmaker you want playing at quarterback.”
Larsen knows that to defend Timpview effectively that containing Covey is the key.
“Not many teams have been able to contain him, but we’re going to do our best,” Larsen said. “We need to limit Timpview’s big plays and keep everything in front of us. If we do that, we may have a chance to win this thing.”
Timpanogos enters the matchup with a good playmaker at quarterback as well. Jackson Dunford is more of a traditional quarterback than Covey and has thrown for 2,335 yards and 21 touchdowns on the year.
“When Dunford plays well, we play well,” Larsen said. “Fortunately, for us, he’s played very well for most of the year and hopefully we can get a good game from him against Timpview.”
On defense, the Timberwolves are led by Austin Seegmiller, who will play at either linebacker or defensive end, depending on the defensive formation, and defensive end Satala Masina, who has been a pleasant surprise with his play.
“Timpanogos is a well-coached team and certainly not a team we’ll take lightly,” Whittingham said. “They have some solid defensive players, a good quarterback and overall they’re a solid football team.”
Although a state championship is the goal for any team entering the playoffs, Larsen believes a win over Timpview would be the next best thing for the program.
“Heck, I may resign if we beat Timpview since I’ll be going out on top,” Larsen quipped. “I mean, to beat a team like that — it would be enormous for our program and easily the next best thing to winning state. I don’t know how we’ll do it, but we’re going to give it our best shot and hopefully we can get some breaks and pull off the upset.”
Timpanogos statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 26.5 ppg (13th in 4A)
Scoring defense: 25.1 ppg (14th in 4A)
Passing leader: Jackson Dunford (138-232, 59.5%, 2,335 yards, 21 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Jake Ware (133 carries, 687 yards, 3 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Trayce Esteban (45 catches, 606 yards, 7 TDs), Austin Seegmiller (43 catches, 661 yards, 7 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Cory Morin (41 tackles)
Sack leaders: Satala Masina (3.5 sacks)
Interception leaders: Jackson Dunford (3 INTs)
Timpview statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 39.2 ppg (4th in 4A)
Scoring defense: 2.2 ppg (1st in 4A)
Passing leader: Britain Covey (94-134, 70.1%, 1,228 yards, 20 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Britain Covey (79 carries, 877 yards, 12 TDs), Kendall Tuua (147 carries, 839 yards, 8 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Rhett VanLeeuwen (25 catches, 405 yards, 4 TDs), Mitchell Stephsnon (27 catches, 211 yards, 4 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Emmett Tela (61 tackles), Gabe Reid (56 tackles), Pio Soters (55 tackles)
Sack leaders: Isaiah Nacua (14 sacks), Gabe Reid (13.5 sacks)
Interception leaders: Hasting Madsen (5 INTs), Pio Stowers (4 INTs), Emmett Tela (3 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Timpanogos High School
All-time record: 71-112 (18 years)
Region championships: 0
Playoff appearances: 10
All-time playoff record: 2-9
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-0
Felt’s Factoid(s): Timpanogos is one of just 11 schools to have a perfect playoff record on its home field (1-0).
Felt’s Facts for Timpview High School
All-time record: 290-109 (36 years)
Region championships: 18 (1977 co, 1986 co, 1991, 1992, 1993 co, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 co, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013)
Playoff appearances: 33
All-time playoff record: 60-23
State championships: 9 (1986, 1991, 1997, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012)
State championship record: 9-1
Felt’s Factoid(s): Timpview owns the second-longest winning streak in state history at 36, dating from Sept. 15, 2006, to Nov. 21, 2008. The Thunderbirds hold the record for total yards in a championship game, 611 in the 4A final in 2007. Timpview’s Andrew Badger holds the state record for yards gained per reception during a season with 35.80 in 2003.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company