This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Minutes after Timpview had throttled Woods Cross to earn a shot to defend its crown, I sent Brandon Matich a text message asking what the scouting report on the defending Class 4A Thunderbirds is.
The East football coach responded: "Fast, athletic defense … and a tremendous playmaker at QB."
Matich could have been describing his own team.
In the world of high school sports, battles between the top two teams often are thwarted somewhere along the line by the madness of postseason play: Miracle heaves, tremendous plays and full-hearted upsets.
Not this year. Not in 4A. This year, we asked way back when in July for this matchup, and we received on Thursday evening.
East and Timpview will square off for the 4A title.
The Leopards, at 13-0, have been a steamroller of sorts, bullying their way to wins with their surplus of star athletes on both sides of the ball. Timpview, the defending 4A champ, is 12-1 and has a defense that dominates.
The narrative gets more meaty considering East and Timpview were the two programs reprimanded for playing ineligible players in 2012. The Thunderbirds beat East 32-14 in the 4A semifinal at Rice-Eccles Stadium en route to their title.
"Our thoughts on East? We're just going to prepare for them," said Timpview star Isaiah Nacua after the win over Woods Cross. "We know they're a good team, but we're coming full steam ahead."
The T-Birds certainly are, but so is East.
When I talked to Matich back in July, I asked him what phrase he'd use to summarize his group in 2013. He said angry. And in the first 13 weeks of the season, the Leopards have played angry and loose.
They stomped 5A powerhouses Alta and Jordan and Hawaii's Kahuku. They scored 76 points in a region game. The Leopards have successfully used last year's trials to their advantage in the first 13 weeks of the season.
"If we maintain the focus and maintain playing our game," said East linebacker and Stanford commit Christian Folau, "then I think we'll win [Friday]."
Mark your calendars for Friday at 11 a.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Should Mother Nature oblige and avoid another typical championship-day blizzard, East and Timpview could be a game we talk about for a long time.
And once East quarterback Isaac Valles calls for the ball and turns to give to Wisconsin commit Ula Toluta'u, Nacua, Max Anae and Emmett Tela will be waiting.
Just like the rest of us, very eagerly.