Football

High school football: Timpview and Orem are set to continue their rivalry in new Region 7

In 2014, the Timpview Thunderbirds were fresh off a three-peat championship and riding the high of their eighth championship in 11 seasons.

Since then, Timpview has seen a championship drought. However, despite the drought, the Thunderbirds have had plenty of success with three championship trips in the past four seasons, and four total trips since that 2014 championship.

But, unfortunately for Timpview, it’s been 0-4 in every championship game since.

In the new region realignments, Timpview moves from Region 8 to Region 7 for a chance to start fresh on its championship hunt.

The new Region 7 consists of Timpview, Cedar Valley, Maple Mountain, Salem Hills, Spanish Fork, Springville, and Wasatch. Timpview is the only team moving from Region 8 into Region 7, and therefore its season schedule will be drastically different.

The Thunderbirds have shown their offensive prowess last season, where they averaged 43 points per game, but this season are only returning three offensive starters. Timpview head coach Donny Atuaia says he is confident in his team, despite the amount of new players coming to his system.

“With a lot of spots vacated by outgoing seniors, we have young and excited student-athletes working hard to achieve our team goals. Our season will depend on our ability to work together,” said Atuaia.

Timpview has been voted as the preseason favorite by its fellow Region 7 members, but the Thunderbirds know how tough its competition will be.

The Orem Tigers sit just below Timpview at second in the region in the projected rankings. Unlike Timpview, Orem is returning eight offensive starters, which will give it a head start in its preparation for the new region.  

Orem won four consecutive championships between 2017 and 2020, two of which were earned after defeating the Thunderbirds in the championship game.

Timpview did get its revenge on the Tigers in last year’s semifinal match, where the Thunderbirds beat Orem 48-31.

Orem head coach Lance Reynolds says his team’s continuity will help them take a leap next season. “A team that fell just short last year but returns a huge number of weapons this season and is set to make a strong run at the title.”

The UHSAA realignments may have made 5A less inflated, but every program knows just how difficult a potential path to a championship will be.  

Region 7 projections

(Preseason rankings are based on coaches’ votes)

1. Timpview Thunderbirds

2023 schedule

Head coach: Donny Atuaia

Led Timpview to a 10-3 record and 5A runner-up finish in his first season as head coach for the T-Birds last year. He’s a graduate of Orem High School and BYU.

Coach Donny Atuaia’s general outlook

“With a lot of spots vacated by outgoing seniors, we have young and excited student-athletes working hard to achieve our team goals. Our season will depend on our ability to work together.”

Offensive coordinator: Tyler Anderson

2022 offense: 43.0 ppg (No. 2 in 5A)

Three returning starters.Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

Tei Nacua, WR, Sr.Helaman Casuga, QB, So.Isaiah Vaea, Ath., Sr.

Key offensive newcomers

Jaron Pula, WR, So.Kennan Pula, WR, So.

Defensive coordinator: Jray Galea’i

2022 defense: 20.5 ppg (No. 11 in 5A)

Six returning starters.4-3 defense.

Returning defensive starters

Paka Haunga, LB, Sr.Matthias Lesa, LB, Jr.Haven Halladay, S, Sr.Jacob Rust, DR, Sr.Aisa Galea’i, Ath., So.Taani Makasini, Ath., So.

Key defensive newcomers

2. Orem Tigers

2023 schedule

Head coach: Lance Reynolds

After serving as an assistant coach for several years, the Timpview High and BYU graduate is taking over as head coach for the Tigers.

Coach Lance Reynolds’s general outlook

“A team that fell just short last year but returns a huge number of weapons this season and is set to make a strong run at the title.”

Offensive coordinator: Mic Hixson

2022 offense: 30.3 ppg (No. 13 in 5A)

Eight returning starters.West Coast variation offense.

Returning offensive starters

Roger Saleapaga, Sr., TE.Lance Reynolds, Sr., QB.Asher Young, Sr., WR.Mack Hixson, Sr., RB.Feleti Iongi, Jr., RB.Boston Sallenback, Sr., WR.Misi Poti, Sr., OL.Johnny Prescott, Sr., OL.

Key offensive newcomers

Kaue Akana, So., WR.Maake Apo, Jr., OL.Warren Matina, So., OL.Micah Seufale, Jr., OL.

Defensive coordinator: Abu Tuisavura

2022 defense: 28.77 ppg (No. 20 in 5A)

Three returning starters.4-3-5 defense.

Returning defensive starters

Tayden Sau, Sr., DL.Kaue Akana, So., S.Harrison Barker, Sr., CB.Aidan Brown, Sr., LB.

Key defensive newcomers

AJ Snow, Jr., DLKaleb Dean, Sr., LBChris Nelson, Sr., LBRiver Matthews, Sr., SMicah Seufale, Jr., DLDallin Heal, Sr., CB

3. Wasatch Wasps

2023 schedule

Head coach: Steve Coburn

Entering his 12th season at Wasatch, where his teams have posted a 69-53 record. Coburn has five years of head coaching experience at Snow College (2006-2010) and 20 years head coaching experience at the high school level. He was 13-6 at Morgan (1988-89), 11-29 at Ogden (1994-1997), 2-17 at Cottonwood (1998-99) and 4-7 at North Sanpete (2011). He’s a graduate of Bonneville High School and BYU.

Coach Steve Coburn’s general outlook

“Wasatch will look to replace a lot of production at the offensive skill positions and defensive skill positions. Wasatch is returning a strong group on the offensive and defensive lines, including three-year starters Garrett Christensen and Austin McNaughtan, and two-year starters Heath Budd and Cooper Thacker, with sophomores Robby Whelan, who saw significant playing time as a freshman, and Crew Baxter looking very impressive along the offensive and defensive lines. Wasatch also returns starting quarterback Mack Kelson, who looks great in his offseason workouts, along with JoJo Hyer at WR. Wasatch will look to adjust quickly with new offensive and defensive coordinators.”

Offensive coordinator: Nate Knight

2022 offense: 33.1 ppg (No. 8 in 5A)

Six returning starters.Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

Austin McNaughtan, Sr., OL.Cooper Thacker, Sr., OL.Robby Whalen, So., OL.Carter Bucad, Sr., WR/RB.Mack Kelson, Jr., QB.JoJo Hyer, Jr., WR.

Key offensive newcomers

Defensive coordinator: Stanton Akana

2022 defense: 40.1 ppg (No. 28 in 5A)

Seven returning starters.3-3-5 defense.

Returning defensive starters

Garrett Christensen, Sr., DL.Heath Budd, Jr., DL.Abe Wheeler, Sr., LB.Kolton Brisk, Sr., LB.Colton Bassett, Sr., DB.Austin McNaughtan, Sr., DL.

Key defensive newcomers

4. Springville Red Devils

2023 schedule

Head coach: Dave Valeti

Heading into his second season as head coach at Springville, where he previously spent seven years as an assistant. His team posted an 8-2 record a year ago. He played college football at Snow College and is a graduate of UVU.

Coach Dave Valeti’s general outlook

“We have a great group of men that have bought into our process. We are excited to see how we stack up this season. We have a great group of seniors that have been leading the way. We will play Red Devil Football, with a strong defense, solid rushing attack and picking our shots in the passing game.”

Offensive coordinator: Doug Bills

2022 offense: 37.0 ppg (No. 4 in 5A)

Five returning starters.Pro-style offense.

Returning offensive starters

Tevita Valeti, Sr., RB.Dallin Johnson, Sr., OL.Kinikini Fonohema, Sr., OL.Luke Nadauld, Sr., WR.

Key offensive newcomers

Drake Peterson, Jr., WR.Cade Johnson, So., OL.Lisiate Valeti, So., ATH/QB.Easton Condie, Jr., QB.Jack Pickering, Jr., WR.Junior Lauaki, Sr., TE.

Defensive coordinator: Dave Valeti

2022 defense: 21.3 ppg (No. 15 in 5A)

Six returning starters.H20 Defense.

Returning defensive starters

Tisi Valeti, Sr., LB.Luke Nadauld, Sr., SS.Dallin Johnson, Sr., DL.Kini Fonohema, Sr., DL.Tevita Valeti, Sr., LB.Tua Valeti, Sr., FS.

Key defensive newcomers

Jack Pickering, Jr., DB.Drake Peterson, Jr., DB.Tua Naufahu, So., LB.Cade Johnson, So., DL.

5. Maple Mountain Golden Eagles

2023 schedule

Head coach: Kalin Hall

The father of former BYU QB Jaren Hall, Kalin Hall is taking over for coach Brad Burtenshaw, the only coach in the 14-year history of the school.

Coach Kalin Hall’s general outlook

“Maple Mountain High School will be a hard-working decline team that will rely on a collective effort from all members of the team. Maple Mountain is a young team that has some exceptionally talented underclassmen who will play a significant role in the future of the program. The rebuilding process will not happen overnight but significant strides of improvement have already been seen.”

Offensive coordinator: Bingham Fano

2022 offense: 13.4 ppg (No. 31 in 5A)

Four returning starters.Spread offense.

Returning offensive starters

Easton Merrell, Sr., WR.Braxston Jensen, Sr., OL.Denton Mills, Sr., OL.Zachary Jensen, Jr., OL.

Key offensive newcomers

Alex DeGroot, Jr., QB.Banks Jackson, Jr., QB.Maddox Sabey, Jr., WR.Derek Morehouse, WR.

Defensive coordinator: Dominique Moe

2022 defense: 44.2 ppg (No. 31 in 5A)

Three returning starters.4-3 defense.

Returning defensive starters

Kavika Bringhurst, Sr., DL.Mateus Adams, Jr., DL.Farrah Hardy, Jr., DB.

Key defensive newcomers

Sifa Kolomalu, Sr., LB.Nathan Wolfgramm, Sr., DL.Gabe Rockwood , Sr., DL.Maddox Sabey, Jr., DB.Michael Knudsen, Sr., LB.Tiger Hakes, Jr., LB.Taegan Bush, Sr., DB.

6. Cedar Valley Aviators

2023 schedule

Head coach: Weston Zabriskie

The school’s only head coach is entering his fifth season after leading the program to a 25-21 record its first four seasons. Prior to that, he spent nine seasons as head coach at South Sevier, leading the Rams to a 31-64 record from 2010 to 2018. He’s a graduate of North Sanpete High School and Utah State University.

Coach Weston Zabriskie’s general outlook

“This offseason has been a whirlwind of emotions for the team. Our running back, Joe Lomu, was diagnosed with cancer in January and is unable to compete his senior year. Then, right before summer workouts, another player, Landon Johnson, who was competing for a starting job, was hit in the head by a line drive playing baseball and is now out for the season. Both of these injuries had an emotional effect on the team and coaches, but they are using it as motivation and it helped them gain perspective on the important things. They are looking forward to the new season in a new region. We have five offensive linemen back and a strong running back group to lead the charge offensively, which will help out a new QB where we have a three-way player battle going on for the starting job. The defense has some great returning talent. We have a lot of boys stepping it up and competing for playing time on both sides of the ball. The boys are working hard and are ready to start Year 5 as a school.”

Offensive coordinator: Jason Linde

2022 offense: 35.25 ppg (No. 7 in 5A)

Seven returning starters.Multiple Formations, Spread Base.

Returning offensive starters

Michael Orr, Sr., OT.Aidan Marsh, Sr., OT.Nick Tuakoi, Sr., OG.Alama Fetuao, Sr., OG.Dalton Dunn, Sr., C.Ethan Johnson, Sr., WR.Isaac Cline, Sr., WR.Joe Lomu, Sr., RB (will miss season due to cancer).

Key offensive newcomers

Chevas Gregory, Jr., RB.Gavin Killian, Sr., RB.Jake Murdock, Sr., WR.Kody Whited, Sr., QB.Cole Christensen, Jr., QB.Detmer Murdock, Jr., WR.Jace McClellan, Jr., WR.Bridger Dastrup, Jr., WR.

Defensive coordinator: Dalton Dunn

2022 defense: 24.83 ppg (No. 17 in 5A)

Three returning starters.3-4 defense.

Returning defensive starters

Devoux Tuataga, Sr., DE.Nate Banry, Sr., LB.James Young, Jr., DE.

Key defensive newcomers

Reece Byrd, Sr., LB.Lucky Mamea, Sr., DL.Chase Webb, Sr., DB.Ethan Baker, Sr., DB.Jaxin Monson, Jr., DB.Brady Zabriskie, Jr., DB.Brayden Jakins, Jr., DB.Colton Chappell, Jr., DL.

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