High school football: Timpanogos overcoming adversity in 4-0 start

By the end of Timpanogos football’s region rivalry win over Mountain View last Friday, Timberwolves junior Luke Livingston had eclipsed 1,000 yards of total offense in just four games.

And apparently, he doesn’t really care.

“The thing about Luke is, if you ask him, he’s gonna tell you, ‘I’d rather do whatever I can to help this team win,’” Heaps said. “He doesn’t care. He’s not a big stats guy.”

The road hasn’t been an easy one for the Timberwolves after losing their starting senior quarterback, but thanks to some crafty coaches and players like Livingston doing whatever it takes, the team hasn’t lost a step in its 4-0 start, as they beat rival Mountain View, 42-11, in their first region game.

“If someone would have told us we were going to be 4-0 without our quarterback,” Heaps said, “we would have said ‘hey, 3-1 would be great, 4-0, probably not,’ so the fact that we are, it shows the resilience of the team that we have this year.”

There are few things more foreboding in football than an injury to a quarterback, and for the Timberwolves, that fear was confirmed in Week 1, as senior quarterback Chase Riggs went down during the Timberwolves’ 41-25 win over Jordan.

There was plenty to be excited for Riggs in the beginning of the season. The senior threw for 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions in his junior year. Before leaving the field against Jordan, he had already racked up serious numbers, throwing for 370 yards and four touchdowns, two of them to Livingston.

Since then, Heaps and his coaches have had Livingston and junior MJ Iosefo, the starting running back, splitting reps at the quarterback position. The result is the fifth-best scoring offense in the state at 45.5 points per game.

Livingston, who was on the All-State first team as a sophomore receiver last year, currently leads the team in passing yards (407), rushing yards (352), and receiving yards (265). He is also the scoring leader in all those categories with 16 total touchdowns.

“He’s incredible with the ball in his hands,” Heaps said. “If that’s running a deep route, or taking a direct handoff and running it, or just throwing it, it just shows the straight-up athleticism the kid has.”

The Timberwolves have tougher games ahead, to be sure. Their first four opponents have a combined record of 3-12, and their next two games will be against Payson (a Thursday game streaming on KJZZ) and Cedar Valley.

With Riggs already back to taking snaps in practice, the hope is that he will be fully healed and ready to go either this week or the next. If so, then not only do the Lions and Aviators have to prepare for him, but they’ll also have to adjust to handling Livingston back full-time at receiver and Iosefo in the backfield.

Timpanogos will also be the last region team to face off against Stansbury, a team that has a strong likelihood of being undefeated when it steps onto the Timberwolves’ field on Oct. 12. The two teams played with the Region 7 title on the line last season, with the Stallions winning it.

“The Stanbury game is one that the boys talked about a lot in the summer,” Heaps said. “That’s definitely a game that’s circled.”

Between now and then, it’s all about beating the next opponent, Heaps said. “The only way you win a region title is winning each week.”

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