Every time Timpview caused a “sudden change” play in Friday’s Class 5A quarterfinal, the Thunderbirds made Provo pay.
Timpview (10-3) did all of its damage in the first half, scoring all of its points after big plays and throttling the Bulldogs offense in a 26-7 victory. The T-Birds earned the right to return to the state semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City for the first time since 2015.
“I’m at a loss for words, honestly,” said Timpview running back Sione Moa, who scored two touchdowns and intercepted a pass. “I always dreamed of playing there and it’s our time now. But the job is not done. We’re ready.”
Provo’s long local nightmare, meanwhile, continues: The Bulldogs haven’t beaten their city rivals since 1989, a string of 31 straight losses.
“We were just caught up in the social media stuff they were doing,” Moa said. “They were saying they wanted us, and they got us. I’m just proud of my boys.”
The odds seemed to be in Provo’s favor to end the long drought. The Bulldogs were seeded No. 2 in the 5A playoffs, were playing at home and had played well before losing to the T-Birds 13-7 in August.
Provo (9-3) got on the board first. Ryan Harward’s 35-yard punt return set up the Bulldogs at the Timpview 10 and two plays later Harward snagged a pass from Luke Haslem for a 5-yard touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.
“That was a wake-up call for us,” Moa said. “After that, we just kind of turned a switch. We knew we had to turn it up after that.”
Timpview responded after one of those “sudden change” plays — a fumble recovery by Logan Fano at the Provo 21. Sione Moa bulled over from the 1-yard line to tie the game a 7-all after one quarter.
The T-Birds scored 19 points in the second quarter and took control of the game. An 8-yard Provo punt put Timpview on the Bulldogs 24, and three plays later Elijah Allen connected with tight end Carsen Ryan on a 7-yard scoring pass for a 14-0 lead.
Moa provided another sudden change play moments later, picking off a Haslem pass at the Provo 44. Moa did the honors himself a few plays later, breaking four tackles on his way to a 15-yard touchdown run with 9:01 to play in the second quarter. Timpview added a safety when Provo committed an intentional grounding in its own end zone and a 26-yard Lance Taylor field goal for a 26-7 advantage at halftime.
“We expect those big plays from them,” Timpview coach Andy Stokes said. “We tell them that big-time players make big-time plays. They come out every week and make big-time plays.”
The second half was largely uneventful as Timpview was happy to grind out the clock with its run game. Provo chewed up valuable time on a 14-play drive that ended in an incomplete pass on 4th-and-17 from the Timpview 37 with 7:36 to play.
Targhee Lambson paced the Timpview ground game with 22 carries for 103 yards. The Timpview defense was stellar, holding Provo to just 20 yards rushing and 124 total yards of offense.
Timpview will take on Region 7 foe Lehi in next week’s semifinals after the 11th-seeded Pioneers took down No. 3 seed Farmington 27-21. The T-Birds beat Lehi 28-9 in region play on Sept. 27.
“Our kids are coming along right now,” Stokes said. “We’re on a good roll. We’re climbing a mountain and the kids are coming together. They are doing their job. Everybody is doing their thing and I’m proud of the kids. They’ve come a long way this year.
“We haven’t been to the carpet (at Rice-Eccles Stadium) for a couple of years so we’re excited to be there. I also know playing this game, Provo called us out. They called us out after their game last week. Our kids knew that. They knew they were getting disrespected so they came out to play.”