The T-wolves came out victorious 34-6 over the Wasps, but the game was not as lopsided as that score suggests.
Under overcast skies that at times drizzled rain on the near capacity crowd at Wright-Tree Stadium in Heber City, the contest started with Timpanogos receiving the opening kickoff and muscling its way into Wasp territory.
Wasatch’ young defense was stingy against the run forcing the T-wolves to work the edges and go to the air. Quarterback Jackson Dunford found the end zone first at 8:07 with a short keeper up the middle. The PAT was no good and Timpanogos led 6-0.
The Wasp offense found it tough in the early going, failing to gain much ground. Senior tailback Hunter Pella was able to find brief glimpses of daylight, but nothing for large chunks of yardage. Wasatch quarterback Zack Reiss was forced out of the pocket repeatedly and could not connect with any of his receivers in the 1st quarter.
Wasatch was able to eat up the rest of the opening frame and quickly scored in the 2nd quarter once the teams changed directions. Sophomore placekicker Skyler Southam connected on a 26-yard field goal making the score 6-3.
Wasatch stayed tough on defense forcing Timpanogos into several 3rd and long situations, but fell victim to big plays. The T-wolves capitalized on the young Wasps’ mishaps and found themselves in the end zone on a short Dunford pass at 5:15 left in the half. David Hurst added the extra point for the 13-3 advantage.
The play that seemed to tell the story for Wasatch came with only one second remaining in the first half and the T-wolves with possession at the Wasp 37 yard line. After Wasatch had seemingly stopped the late first half drive, a costly penalty gave Timpanogos one last shot.
With Wasatch head coach Steve Coburn livid over the loose explanation from referees of the previous penalty against his team, Dunford found a receiver in the back of the end zone for a mini-Hail Mary with time expired. Hurst added his second PAT giving Timpanogos a 20-3 halftime lead.
Timpanogos added two more touchdowns in the second half, a pass in the third and a run in the fourth quarters, that the home team could not answer.
Wasatch was able to put together a good early 4th quarter drive with two of its largest gains on the night, but came away with only a second Southam field goal after Pella was stopped twice inside the one-yard line.
After the final gun sounded, with the scoreboard reading Timpanogos 34 and Wasatch 6, the Wasps were defeated, but not down. “We saw some good things tonight,” stated Coburn. “We’ve got a lot of young guys playing for us right now, and there’s going to be mistakes. But I thought Hunter (Pella) ran the ball well. I thought our defense played good. We just gave up the big play.”
Reiss was effective at quarterback for Wasatch, but not spectacular going 13-30 for 153 yards. “I thought Zack threw the ball pretty well,” added Coburn. “But there was some dropped balls and breakdowns at the line that we just can’t have. We’ll stay the course and just keep working at getting better.”
Timpanogos, a more experienced team, especially at the 4A level was pleased to come away with a win knowing Wasatch would be tough to face for the very first time.
“Yeah, its tough playing a team for the first time,” said Timpanogos head coach Ed Larson. “But I’ve know Steve (Coburn) a long time and he’s a great coach and was going to put up a fight.”
“I just think big plays were the key for us tonight,” Larson added. “We managed to not turn the ball over and take advantage on the edges. They stuffed us on the run, so we had to go up top and we got some big plays.”
Wasatch stays in Region 7 and welcomes Mountain View High School for their first ever meeting
“We’ll be a little more prepared I think,” said Pella. “The first game, you know, there’s nerves, under the big lights… but we got past it,” he added. “I thought we played pretty good except for a few breakdowns, so we’ll be fine. I can’t wait already.”