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SANDY — As Timpview quarterback Liu Aumavae made his way back to his team, the singing started.
"Happy birthday to you" his teammates sang in a mixture of loud, off-key voices as they quickly surrounded their star quarterback and sprayed him with water.
Prior to that moment, Aumavae had thrown four touchdown passes in No. 5 Timpview's 62-21 win at Alta in the KSL.com Game of the Week on Friday. That qualified as a pretty good birthday.
"He threw for a bunch of yards, had some touchdowns, he got an unsportsmanlike conduct. Happy birthday," Timpview head coach Andy Stokes said, smiling.
Happy indeed, especially because he had teammates that made life pretty easy for him, namely the five guys blocking in front of him.
"They challenged themselves early on in the week to prove that they're the best in the state, and they really proved it tonight," Aumavae said. "They gave me all the time in the world and when you have that long, receivers get open."
Alta never generated a consistent pass rush, which allowed Aumavae to comfortably stand and wait until receivers got separation. But that dominant O-line wasn't the only thing making life easy for Aumavae and Timpview.
While Aumavae threw for multiple touchdowns Friday, he likely could have just handed it off to Timpview's powering duo of Micah Beckstead and Kerven Tua'one on every play and the game's result would have likely been the same.
The Thunderbirds offensive line opened up big holes for the running backs; and once those two got moving, they proved rather difficult to bring down. It was rare that Beckstead and Tua'one went down on initial contact — they often gained a few more yards even when they went to the ground. They were simply too strong and too powerful for Alta to contend with in a loss.
Beckstead had two rushing touchdowns, including a 15-yard score in the third quarter that blew the game open, and Tua'one found pay dirt once, as well.
"They do great things with the ball in their hands, so it just makes my job even easier, because when we're able to run the ball, gosh, then everything opens up in the passing game," Aumavae said.
In the first half, it appeared Aumavae would be in an offensive shootout against Alta quarterback Ethan Jackson. Both signal callers threw three touchdowns in the first half as things went back and forth down the field.
Jackson hit Noah Flores on two deep post routes for touchdowns in the first quarter, and threw a third after scrambling out of the pocket to find Jensen Campbell for a 14-yard score. That touchdown throw came with 3:59 remaining in the second quarter and to cut Timpview's lead to 28-21.
The Thunderbirds responded with a long drive that ended with Beckstead's first touchdown of the game just before halftime to give Timpview a two-possession lead at the break. That may have been a bit demoralizing for the Hawks.
Alta got a great performance from Jackson, had intercepted Aumavae once, forced a turnover on downs, and yet still trailed by two touchdowns at halftime. Once Alta's offensive magic ran out, the game became a rout rather quickly.
The Thunderbirds recovered a fumble recovery on Alta's opening second half possession and Timpview wasted little time putting the game out of reach. On the next play, Aumavae connected with Zed Ambrosio on a seam route to put Timpview up 42-21. With how easily the Thunderbirds were moving the ball, that marked the beginning of the end for the Hawks.
Timpview scored 27 points in the second half, and Alta could muster 0.
"That's the defense that we've seen every week so far," Stokes said. "They changed the tide of the game. It wasn't a blowout. They were moving the ball and they were in the game. Our defense came out of halftime and changed the game."
It also made for one happy birthday.