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Nothing signals the opening of fall camp like a quarterback battle, and there are three players in the race to start for the defending Class 4A state champions at Timpview.
Junior Isiah Holloway was a cornerback last season but is in the mix to become the quarterback this year, along with junior Britain Covey and senior Preston Brown.
"It's a good problem to have because all three of them would make a great quarterback on any team," Thunderbirds coach Cary Whittingham said. "It makes it difficult because of the quality of all three of those guys."
Whittingham said he doesn't want to make a decision too hastily and will wait until after a few scrimmages to make the decision.
"Those kids all have talent," he said. "We want to get them all on the field someway. Two of them are going to have to find the field someway, and they're talented kids who will."
Incoming seniors Max Anae and Isaiah Nacua will bolster the Thunderbirds defense, which already featured six returning starters. Anae, a linebacker, moved back to Timpview when his father, former BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae got rehired at BYU for the job he lost three seasons ago. Nacua, a highly recruited defensive end, moved to the area from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas.
They'll join forces with the likes of Gabe Reid and Emmett Tela to form one of the best defenses in the state. But when it comes to talk of defending their title from last season, Whittingham is more concerned with the progress of his offense.
"We have a ton of potential, but that's all it is at this point," Whittingham said. "If we can put it together, we're going to be a good team. If we can't put it together, there are enough good 4A teams out there that it will be a struggle to repeat, or even get close to that."
ASSIGNMENT • Region 8
LAST YEAR • 9-5 overall, 5-2 Region 8
KEY RETURNER • Rhett Van Leeuwen, sr., WR. The 6-foot-2 wideout put up big numbers while helping the Thunderbirds win the state title and should be the No. 1 target of whomever wins the quarterback battle.
PLAYER TO WATCH • Isaiah Nacua, sr., DL. Nacua is new to Utah high school football but not new to the national recruiting scene. The 6-3, 240-pounder who has strong interest from BYU will be a force on the defensive line.
BIGGEST HOLE • Coach Whittingham has to replace his entire offensive line, and while he likes what he sees from the new guys as far as size and athleticism, it remains to be seen how well they learn the system and perform.
NEED TO KNOW • No matter how much the offense might struggle as it plugs in a new quarterback and new blockers, the defense will keep Timpview in every game.