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By Tom Smart, Deseret News

On multiple occasions during the first half and early into the second half of its 4A championship showdown Friday with Springville, Timpview's offense potentially could have knocked out the Red Devils.

The T-Birds, however, failed to land any of those knockout punches, and after Alema Key scored for Springville to pull the Red Devils within a touchdown, 14-6, midway through the third quarter, it seemed as though Timpview could be in big trouble.

But Timpview's fantastic defense made sure the T-Birds prevailed.

Defensively, the Thunderbirds kept Springville at bay from start to finish, and — aside from one long drive that resulted in Key's TD — were close to flawless in propelling their school to its fourth title in as many seasons.

"The offense didn't really perform as we wanted to, (but) that just made the challenge for the defense better," said Timpview cornerback Kapena Clark, who finished with nine tackles and a sack. "I think we really stepped up as a defense. And trust — we trusted if the defense did it, the offense would do it. And they did."

In the first half, turnovers and other miscues prevented Timpview's offense from really putting the hammer down. Whenever Timpview's offense failed to convert, though, its defense was waiting in the wings.

Timpview's stellar defense got stop after stop in the first half, and it came up with an enormous play to ensure the game's final outcome midway through the second half.

One drive earlier, Timpview had given up an 81-yard drive, and the T-Birds were forced to punt the ball on their ensuing possession. On the first play of Springville's next possession, Ofa Latu picked off the ball and raced 32 yards down the left sideline to the end zone.

Timpview didn't look back from there.

"Phenomenal job the past two weeks, and they hung in there (against Springville)," said Timpview coach Louis Wong of his defense. "The offense may have struggled, but the defense (said), 'We got your back.' The defensive mentality is, 'We got your back no matter what happens.' "

That allowed Timpview's defense to take its place alongside many of the stellar Timpview defenses that preceded it. And that's about as high a compliment as you could give this group, which overcame several injuries over the course of the season.

"We just played physical," said safety Chris Badger. "We played Timpview defense. Timpview's just notorious for defense."

e-mail: drasmussen@desnews.com