OREM — A lot of prep football programs around the state have seen improvements after bringing in players who don't reside within school boundaries, but for Timpanogos coach Daniel Tervort, he opted for another approach when taking over the program four years ago.
Fraught with top players fleeing the lagging Timberwolves' program for greener grass, Tervort was taken off-guard when assuming head-coaching duties in 2015. He admits to making several mistakes in those early years, yet takes pride in a somewhat unique recruiting tactic that has since paid good dividends.
“When I first got here I went about recruiting at my own school,” Tervort explained. “I’d find the top athletes playing other sports and ask them why they weren’t playing football. Several of those guys decided to play and they’ve been a big help to us. I worked extremely hard on that and it paid off. Some people look elsewhere, but I looked within.”
Success at Timpanogos didn't come immediately, although Tervort has seen his program improve steadily every year he's been coaching. His best season looks to be this year, with the Timberwolves holding a 5-0 record entering Region 8 play while putting up an average of 48.8 points per game.
Leading the way offensively is quarterback Gabe Sweeten, who has thrown for 828 yards and 12 touchdowns against no interceptions while rushing for 336 yards on a 9.9 per rush average and another five touchdowns.
“We just have a solid group. We have really good receivers and a quarterback who has really progressed and become really smart in his decision-making,” Tervort said. “Then our offensive line has been solid. They’ve been great and our running back is real explosive. It’s just all come together well and we’re happy with where we’re at.”
The leading rusher has been Rory Ziegra, who has provided video-game-like numbers of 700 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 46 carries. Leading in the receiving category is Haydn Sandstrom, with his six touchdowns on just nine receptions for 248 yards.
That's the good news. The potentially bad news is the schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher considering what's on tap in Region 8.10 comments on this story
“It’s about to get tougher. No question,” Tervort said. “We haven’t had the toughest tests yet, but you play who you schedule and do what you can with it. Fortunately, our players performed well and they’re all focused for what is ahead of us. It starts this week against a real good Wasatch team and it doesn’t get easier for the rest of the year.”
But despite the knowledge that those five wins didn't come against top competition, they were still wins, which never go underappreciated by Tervort.
“It gives us confidence,” Tervort said. “There’s confidence here that hasn’t been here before, and that comes with winning, no matter who those wins come against. We’re going to have big challenges coming up, but we’re confident we can do well to meet those challenges now. Things are clicking and guys are gelling together.”