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Timpanogos pulls away from Tooele in 48-34 win as it eyes region title

Timpanogos celebrates after a 48-34 victory over Tooele in the team's final home game of the regular season on Oct. 7, 2021.

Timpanogos celebrates after a 48-34 victory over Tooele in the team's final home game of the regular season on Oct. 7, 2021. (Milee Enger, KSL.com)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

OREM — When the clock expired and Timpanogos finished talking as a team, the seniors walked the length of the field together and celebrated their 48-34 win over Tooele in what would be their last home game of the regular season.

But the Thursday night win on Senior Night wasn't the only thing the team had to celebrate.

WIth only one game left in region play, the win solidified the Timberwolves as a top two team in Region 7, with an opportunity to battle for at least a part of the region title against Stansbury, who is undefeated in region play, next week.

"This goes back to our very first meeting in January," Timpanogos head coach Austin Heaps said. "We've always had an Orem or Timpview, Corner Canyon, Lone Peak, you know schools like that in our region; and this school has never won one. Looking at the region now, this is gonna be the best chance the school's ever had."

The first quarter of the game was simply an offensive exhibition by both teams. The Timberwolves and Buffaloes went a perfect 2-for-2 on first quarter drives; but because of a missed PAT, the Timberwolves trailed 14-13.

After receiving the ball from Tooele's first punt of the night early in the second quarter and advancing the ball down to the opposing 29-yard line, Timpanogos fumbled the ball. Following multiple diving attempts to recover the ball, Tooele's Brock Thrall scooped up the ball and ran it back 71 yards for his first touchdown of his high school career.

The first glimpse of a Tooele defense was seen, but Timpanogos, again, had an immediate answer.

In just over two minutes — on a drive that included a 12-yard run from Josh Jones, a 17-yard reception by Matthew Torgersen, and a 27-yard reception by Luke Livingston — Timpanogos set up senior quarterback Matu Holdaway for a 1-yard touchdown run to tie the game 20-20.

The quick-scoring drive showed how versatile the Timberwolves are and how many offensive weapons they can rely on in a game.

"It's a tight knit group, and there's not just one kid you can key on," Heaps said of his teams' versatility. "Typically, in high school you're like, 'Hey, if we take out this kid right here, offense is going to struggle.' ... We don't have one guy for them to key on; we can spread the wealth around which makes it very, very nice."

Holdaway threw four touchdowns against the Buffaloes in the win as he stands atop 5A with 24 passing touchdowns. Livingston also leads 5A in receiving touchdowns and receiving yards, while senior receiver Jaxon Vanchiere is ranked third in receiving touchdowns.

Going into halftime, adjustments were made by the Timberwolves — especially on defense — and the second half was all Timpanogos.

The Timberwolves quickly added to their high-scoring output on the first possession of the half with a 6-yard run from Jones, which would be his first of the half. He added an 18-yard touchdown run and received help on a 17-yard touchdown reception from Livingston.

But most impressive, the defense implemented the adjustments and held Tooele scoreless until the 3:20 mark in the fourth quarter — and contained junior Mateaki Helu, who averages more than 10 yards each carry on the season.

"To have the second half we did and then really kind of blow it open was just phenomenal," Heaps said. "I'm proud of the seniors, and we've got a few more to go."

Timpanogos (8-1, 5-1 Region 7) travels to Stansbury Wednesday night for a midweek contest in what will decide a region champion. Tooele (7-2, 5-2 Region 7) will finish region play with a bye week and will wait for the 5A tournament pairings.

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