PROVO — The Timpview football team started its march toward a fourth straight 4A state championship with a solid 35-7 opening-round victory over Olympus on Friday afternoon in Provo, but Thunderbird head coach Louis Wong wasn't exactly pleased with the way his players performed.
"We weren't prepared to play," he said after the contest. "We had eight guys that came late and I was not happy. I don't think we warmed up well and all of that contributed to our slow start. I'm worried. If we play like that, we won't win."
Timpview struggled offensively throughout much of the first quarter, punting once and twice failing to convert on fourth down. Fortunately for the defending champs, the Thunderbird defense put the clamps down on the Titans until Timpview could get things rolling on the other side of the ball.
"Timpview has had a lot of great defenses and that gives the team confidence," said Thunderbird senior safety Chris Badger. "If the offense is struggling early, they know we have their back. We needed to be physical and that's what we did."
Olympus could only manage 13 yards of offense during the first 12 minutes of play, which gave Timpview time to settle down.
"I chewed them out after the first quarter," Wong said. "I grabbed the offense and told them they better wake up and play the way they know how to play. I got on them and they stepped it up."
The T-birds kicked things into high gear in the second quarter, led by senior quarterback Trevor Brown. He put the first two touchdowns on the board for Timpview on runs of 17 and 26 yards.
A 9-yard burst by Thunderbird junior running back Bryson McKenzie made the score 21-0 and had the Titans on their heels.
Timpview appeared ready to add to the advantage right before the half but an interception by Olympus junior defensive back Sam Williams in his own end zone kept the T-birds from adding to their lead.
But while the Titan defense kept the powerful Timpview offense at bay for long stretches of the game, Olympus simply couldn't find a way to move the ball. The Thunderbirds controlled the line of scrimmage, sacked Titan senior quarterback Spencer Harris nine times and forced two interceptions.
The Timpview offense added two more second-half touchdowns as senior running back Jeremiah Burr scored on a pair of short dives. All five scores by the home team came on the ground, which racked up 240 yards for the game.
Olympus managed to avoid being shutout, however, as Harris dashed in from 11-yards out with less than two minutes to play.
Although it wasn't the cleanest game for the Thunderbirds, the victory moves them one step closer toward their goal of another 4A crown.
"This is the playoffs and so you've got to be able to flip the switch and put it in gear,"? Badger said. "Every game is so important. We've got to get everyone up and ready to go."
With the win, Timpview advanced to the 4A quarterfinals where they will host Spanish Fork next weekend.