LEHI — In a game that spanned over three and a half hours, there was very little that did not occur in Friday's matchup between two of the state's premier programs Timpview and Skyridge.
The game was deadlocked in the fourth quarter and neither team was able to get into field-goal range to break up the tie, forcing the game into overtime. But in the extra minutes of play — even more than was caused by an hour lightning delay in the first quarter — Skyridge found the end zone as quarterback McCae Hillstead snuck up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown in what would be a game-clinching 21-14 final score.
Timpview, having won the overtime coin toss and deferring to go second, got the opportunity to equalize after Skyridge's score; but the attempt fell short on a drive where the Thunderbirds got inside the Falcons' 5-yard line. Facing a fourth-down opportunity, quarterback Liu Aumavae pitched the ball to running back Kerven Tua'one, but he was met with a swarm of Falcons defenders to stop short of the goal line.
In the end it was a Skyridge (5-0) win and a continuation of its unblemished record — though, it's the first time Skyridge's defense has allowed a score all season.
"It was a good hard-fought win against a great team," Skyridge head coach John Lehman said. "Our guys just stayed in it and made the plays when it counted."
"I was just excited," Lehman said of his defense making the fourth-down stop. "These guys work really hard; they're locked into the game plan and they sacrifice so much every single day to be great football players."
From the onset, the game was played physical with neither side being able to mount a drive as both defensive lines dominated the line of scrimmage. But that was all put on hold as a lighting delay went into effect with 4:53 to go in the first quarter.
Play resumed an hour later and so did the defensive slugfest before the delay — the first half was marred by drops, penalties and miscues that allowed the defenses to reign supreme.
Skyridge's Hillstead, though, was a tough quarterback to keep in check for the duration of the game for Timpview (3-2). In one such instance, facing third-and-9 on Timpview's 20-yard line, Hillstead dropped back, spun out of the defensive lineman's grip on his face mask to avoid the sack and lofted a pass to Conner McAllister in the end zone to give the Falcons their first score of the night with two minutes left in the first half.
The defensive attempt wasn't enough to stop Hillstead.
"Once I stepped up in the pocket someone grabbed my face mask and it moved my chin strap, so it covered my eyes," Hillstead added. "I quickly pulled it down, ran around until I saw Conner and he made a great catch."
The third quarter played out much like the first half, only it was the teams' punters that stole the show with booming kicks to flip the field for their respective team. But on one punt attempt by Skyridge, where the ball was snapped low, Timpview managed to block the kick and recover the ball; it was the best field position of the night for the Falcons.
A few plays later, Aumavae found his receiver Jared Epslin in the end zone for a 6-yard score, which was the first points scored on Skyridge all season. The Thunderbirds went on to strike first in the fourth quarter as Aumavae capped off a 54-yard Timpview drive to take a 14-7 lead with 9:40 left to play in the fourth.
The Skyridge offense had become anemic and they desperately needed something to provide a spark. It came in the form of a fake punt pass where Falcons tight end Josh Davis hauled in the reception for a near 40-yard gain. The Falcons then rode star back Jeter Fenton the rest of the drive until he finally broke through the goal line on the 7-yard score to tie the game at 14-14 with 7:41 to play.
Skyridge will travel to take on Westlake next week and Timpview will head to Alta.