I think our kids pride themselves on second-half play, and we condition for second halves. My coaches made good adjustments at halftime and the kids responded well to them. —East coach Brandon Matich
PROVO — The final score East put together during Thursday's 42-10 romp over Timpview was a typical outcome for the Leopards, although the manner in which they did so maybe deviated a bit from the usual course.
Sure, East once again ran its triple-option attack well, but it was a number of big plays, and most notably some long balls from quarterback Ben Ford, that highlighted the effort.
Ford didn't throw much, but when he did, it often went for a big play. The first big pass was a 50-yarder thrown to a streaking Jaylon Vickers just before the half, which put East up 14-0 at the break.
“He can throw the ball and we’ve got some guys who can catch it,” said East coach Brandon Matich. “We saw some things they were doing defensively, that we knew some of those vertical routes were going to be open. We took a shot and it worked out for us.”
Ford's other big touchdown pass came on a 59-yard strike to Charlie Vincent to put the Leopards up 28-3.
As for Vickers' touchdown reception, it was one of several big plays made by the senior, with his first one — a 62-yard interception return for a touchdown toward the end of the first quarter — really turning the tide East's way.
“He had a heck of a game,” Matich said. “He’s a great player and we’re blessed to have that young man.”
Prior to Vickers' interception return, the game was very much going Timpview's way, although it didn't show on the scoreboard. The T-Birds were able to put together long drives, initially, while holding the usually dominant Leopard offensive attack to several short possessions.
“We had some kinks on (offense) early that we kind of needed to work through, but I think we did a good job in the second half of coming out and making adjustments to what they were doing,” Matich said.
Indeed, the Leopards owned the second half that started out with an 80-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession. Only one pass was attempted on the drive, which ate up about five minutes of clock and put the Leopards up 21-0.
Timpview responded with a field goal to cut the lead to 21-3 before East started pouring it on.
“I think our kids pride themselves on second-half play, and we condition for second halves,” Matich said. “My coaches made good adjustments at halftime and the kids responded well to them. I think there were a number of things that happened there and it was a team effort.”
While the offense ended the game strong, Matich was very pleased with his team's defensive effort in going up against a new and unknown Timpview offense coached by new offensive coordinator Deven McCann.
“My defensive staff — Gary Bowers and those guys — has done a phenomenal job of preparing these guys for this game,” Matich said. “Timpview gives us a lot of stress and a lot of heartache. We didn’t know what look we’d get going into this so to do what they did out here, defensively, was a phenomenal job and a phenomenal team effort.”
With the win, East starts the season 1-0 and will next travel to take on defending 5A state champion Bingham. Timpview will look to rebound taking on American Fork on the road.