Timpview football explodes past Orem in shootout
In the early going of Friday’s Region 8 high school football rivalry showdown as Orem hosted Timpview, it appeared everyone was in for a shootout of epic proportions.
The Thunderbirds had scored on three straight possessions, but the Tigers had answered with a pair of touchdowns of their own to make the score 20-14 and were driving deep into Timpview territory.
And then, in almost a blink of an eye, Timpview seized control with a trio of titanic plays.
The next couple of minutes resulted in the Thunderbirds creating some separation and the Thunderbirds never allowed Orem to recover, eventually securing the 62-42 win.
“(Tiger head coach Gabe Sewell) got those guys going,” Timpview head coach Donny Atuaia said. “We are so close to each other and we know each other. I’ve coached players on their team and vice versa. It was that kind of game. We knew it would be but to see it and have it be real, it was fun to watch. A game like this is really a game of adjustments. It was good to see our guys respond to what the coaches put in for them.”
The first of the Big Three plays for the Thunderbirds took place when Orem was facing a fourth down from the Timpview 29-yard line.
The Tigers attempted to get the necessary yardage through the air, but Timpview senior linebacker Siale Esera had other plans.
He stepped in front of the pass to make the interception, then took off down the sideline for the crushing 80-yard pick-6.
“For that to happen, Siale had to be in the right place at the right time,” Atuaia said. “The coaches put him right there, and he listened and made the play. That’s pretty much what it came down to. He’s a special player and we are going to need a lot more special plays from him in the weeks to come.”
The defensive TD fired up the Thunderbird defense, who forced the Tiger offense into a three-and-out on its next possession.
The Timpview offense kept the momentum tsunami going on the very next offensive play as the Thunderbirds split out junior quarterback Quezon Villa, then handed him the ball on the jet sweep.
Villa burst through a gap and followed nearly the identical path as Esera for a 67-yard touchdown run and just like that Timpview’s lead was 34-14.
And the Thunderbirds weren’t done with their big surge yet.
On the next Orem possession, after a holding penalty pinned the Tigers deep, Timpview freshman Aisa Galea’i stepped in front to pick off another Orem pass.
He also was able to keep his balance and walk into the end zone from 10 yards out to give the Thunderbirds the 41-14 lead and conclude Timpview’s set of key second-quarter plays.
“We just needed to keep our composure,” Atuaia said. “We know our potential and that’s what we focus on. In those situations, we’re not going to focus on what they are doing. It comes back to what we are doing.”
The two teams kept trading scores for much of the rest of the game before the Thunderbirds were finally able to run out the clock with the 20-point win.
While Timpview played well and got the victory, there were also some costly mistakes including undisciplined penalties. That didn’t cost the Thunderbirds against Orem but Atuaia knows that could be a different story in the weeks to come.
“When it comes to that kind of stuff, it’s all about keeping your composure,” Atuaia said. “It cost us some some yardage today, so we’ll address that as coaches and just making sure especially leading up to facing a team like Lehi we are focusing on us controlling ourselves and our emotions.”
The stage is now set for a clash of titans on Oct. 6 in Lehi where the undefeated Pioneers (8-0, No. 4 in the 5A RPI rankings) will host Timpview (7-1, No. 1 in the 5A RPI rankings).
The two teams split there games in 2021, with the Thunderbirds winning at home in the regular season and Lehi winning in Provo in the 5A quarterfinals on its way to the state title.
“We know Lehi and how powerful they are and how disciplined they are,” Atuaia said. “That’s gonna be something once again. For us, it’s about what we do and being better at it.”
Orem (4-3) will look to get back on the winning track when it hosts Taylorsville in a non-region game on the same evening.
Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.