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PROVO — It was almost exactly a month ago when Timpview beat Lehi in region play for a game that ultimately decided the Region 8 champion.
Two late-game turnovers decided Lehi's fate in the loss, but during Friday night's rematch in the 5A quarterfinal round, the tables were turned — and it was two early turnovers that were forced by Lehi's defense that helped secure a 23-13 win and a trip to the semifinals.
On the first play of the game, the Thunderbirds lined up in shotgun formation on their own 12-yard line; and in the blink of an eye, the game was changed.
After Liu Aumavae looked to throw the ball, Lehi defensive end Isaac Terrell jumped up, intercepted the ball, and ran 12 yards untouched into the end zone to give the Pioneers the first points of the night just 11 seconds into the game.
"Right off the bat, we wanted defense in there because our defense is a unit, we're a brotherhood," Terrell said. "We went in there and our coaches wanted to get the job done, and our defense scored and it just brought the momentum in the game."
Timpview thought it couldn't get worse to start the game by giving up a touchdown; but on their next drive, another interception was thrown — this time picked off by Kadiyon Sweat.
The Pioneers were unable to convert the turnover into points the second time around, but the interception was enough to deflate all the energy from the No. 2-seeded home team.
"Whenever you play titans like this, we preach first quarter. First quarter, we gotta hit them hard, we gotta make sure we're on top of things," Lehi head coach Ed Larson said. "(The interceptions) were huge. I think it deflated them a little bit.
"We messed up some areas — we could've put things away offensively, but we'll fix it and we'll get going in the right direction. But that was huge for us, no question about it. And I think it kind of deflates you when you're expected to roll on us and you don't."
Jacob Larsen got the Thunderbirds on the board in the second quarter with a 25-yard field goal, but Lehi answered back on their next drive when Jackson Brousseau connected with Boston Bingham for a 16-yard touchdown pass in the end zone.
Lehi went into halftime with a 14-3 lead, marking only the second time this season Timpview was held without a touchdown in the first half.
"We do our best to try to take stuff away and play the guys where they need to — you just try to do your best to control," Larson said. "You get to the point where you get scared a little bit when they decide to run it 14, 15 times in a row with that big offensive line, but our guys came up big. We got some key stops in there that were just tremendous."
One of the most important stops of the night came on Timpview's last possession in the first quarter. Following several big runs from Kevern Tua'one and Micah Beckstead, the Thunderbirds were in the red zone with an opportunity to tie the game. After a third-and-goal run by Beckstead was stopped a yard short by the Lehi defensive line, Timpview elected to try for the touchdown again.
On fourth down, the Thunderbirds gave the ball to Beckstead, who led the teams' run game all season, again. This time, instead of trying to run it on the ground, he attempted to leap over the line, but all his momentum was brought straight down by the Lehi defensive line.
"They kept them in check all game long. You play two great teams, that's what happens. We did a great job of stopping them," Larson said. "They did a couple of drives where they ran it well on us, but ultimately you make a few more extra plays than you end up coming out on top."
Timpview came out of halftime looking like a rejuvenated team and scored on their first possession on a 6-yard touchdown reception by Pokai Haunga. His touchdown was the only one scored in the second half by both teams, and the rest of the game became a field goal battle.
It was Lehi, though, who was able to move the ball up the field to give their kicker Zane Goodrich three opportunities to score. All three attempts by Goodrich were successful, giving the Pioneers enough points to seal the game and get revenge on the Thunderbirds.
Lehi will play Stansbury, the Region 7 Champions, on Thursday, Nov. 11, at Rice-Eccles Stadium at 2:30 p.m. MT.
Rigtrup runs Red Devils by Timberwolves
Seth Rigtrup ran for three touchdowns, including an 84-yard burst to open the second quarter, as the top-seeded Red Devils jumped out to a 42-0 halftime lead and never looked back en route to a 56-14 win over Timpanogos.
Ryder Burton added a pair of touchdown passes for Springville (10-1), and Will Penrod returned an interception 44 yards for a score for the Red Devils.
Bushnell's big plays lead Stansbury by East
Nate Bushnell ran for 108 yards on two first-half touchdown runs to help the Stallions pull away from the Leopards 21-7 in a 5A quarterfinal.
Ezra Harris found Dylan Hamilton with a 22-yard strike midway through the third quarter for Stansbury (10-2), which shut out the Leopards' offense.
Chase Barker scored on a 70-yard pick six for East (5-7).