Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Pleasant Grove's Sean Stevenson gives Timpview's Jason Whittingham a straight arm as he runs around the outside. for extra yardage. The Thunderbirds held off the Vikings for a 10-6 win.

PLEASANT GROVE — The state's longest prep football winning streak continues thanks mostly to an incredible effort Friday night by Timpview's red-zone defense.

In the Thunderbirds' 10-6 nail-biting win Friday over Pleasant Grove, Timpview stopped the Vikings four times inside the 10-yard line. In fact, the game ended on a 39-yard completion by Pleasant Grove to Timpview's 4-yard line.

The victory is Timpview's 24th straight, and some feel the T-Birds schedule only gets easier from here.

"We are still very far from where we want to be," Timpview coach Louis Wong said. "We've got a lot of room for improvement. But we always start slow. But we'll get it going."

Most of the trouble for Pleasant Grove was caused by the pressure from Timpview's defensive front. In total, Timpview's defense had five sacks and forced many other hurries.

"Defensively we played hard. We made things happen. We put on good pressure, and even though we didn't get to him all the time, trust me, that quarterback felt us," Wong said.

Actually, Timpview's offense has a lot of room for improvement. In Friday's game there were none of the long game-breakers that the T-Birds are known for. Their first first-down didn't come until there was 7:35 remaining in the first half and they didn't score a point in the second half. Overall, the T-Birds totaled 253 yards of offense to 274 for Pleasant Grove.

Fortunately, the T-Birds found a couple of bread-and-butter plays to generate enough offense to put 10 points on the board. Most of Timpview's ground game came on scrambles by quarterback Casey Rumsey, who had 73 rushing yards. But the offensive steady for Timpview was receiver Travis Van Leeuwen, who had 90 yards on eight receptions.

That combination led to Timpview's first score, a 15-play 86-yard drive that was completed by Jason Whittingham's 2-yard plunge with 3:13 remaining in the first half. Rumsey had 34 rushing yards on the drive and Van Leeuwen had three catches — with a big 12-yard catch on a fourth-and-four.

But Pleasant Grove responded quickly when quarterback Dallas Lloyd rolled right and found receiver D. J. Doman deep behind Timpview's defenders for a 39-yard TD toss only four plays later. Pleasant Grove's point-after kick was blocked, keeping Timpview up 7-6.

With only 1:39 on the clock, Rumsey and Van Leeuwen led the T-Birds back downfield to set up a 29-yard field goal by Jacob Hatch with 4.6 seconds left before intermission.

But in the second half Timpview punted three times and turned the ball over twice.

Following an interception by Jordan Hymas on the first play of the fourth quarter, the Vikings moved down for a first-and-goal on the seven, but failed to score following two short runs and two incomplete passes.

Timpview fumbled the ball away at the 11-yard line three plays later. On a fourth down and goal, Lloyd found Bryan Sampson in the back of the end zone, but the officials waved the TD catch off on an ineligible receiver downfield call.

When Pleasant Grove started its final drive at its own 8-yard line with 1:39 remaining and no times outs, the Vikings' final hope ended when Marshall Nielson caught a desperation pass on his knees at Timpview's 4-yard line as time expired.

"I've played (Pleasant Grove) since I've been here, so I've always expected this to be a good game," Wong said. "They're very competitive, they're big and they have good coaching. That's why we play them."


E-mail: jimr@desnews.com