Eagle Mountain • Between Sept. 11 and Oct. 14, the Orem High football team didn’t play a game. The ones scheduled kept getting canceled because its opponents were dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks.

One of those canceled games was against the Timpview Thunderbirds. So going into the 5A state championship game on Friday at Cedar Valley High, the Tigers had no in-game experience against the Thunderbirds to fall back on.

But that didn’t end up making a difference. The Tigers (8-2) used a strong second half to pull away from the Thunderbirds (7-5) and win, 26-13, to claim the 5A title. Orem has now won four straight state titles and is one of six schools in state history to win at least four in a row.

“I’m blessed, I’m blessed,” senior quarterback Micah Fe’a said. “I’m blessed to have these coaches, blessed to have these teammates. I didn’t do anything. We all did it.”

Orem’s last two championships have been in 5A, and their previous two were in 4A.

The Tigers certainly used a collective effort to win the championship. Senior Paxton Skipps scored two rushing touchdowns, while senior running back Joseph Smith and junior Kolton Brown scored one apiece.

Defensively, the Tigers gave up the first touchdown of the game but didn’t allow another until midway through the fourth quarter. Skipps also had an interception.

Timpview junior quarterback Liu Aumavae threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to sophomore running back Micah Beckstead to give the Thunderbirds a 6-0 lead with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter. Skipps’ first score tied the game at 6-6 just eight seconds into the second quarter, but neither team got to the end zone after that in the first half.

But after halftime, the game took a turn. The Orem run game started to produce and was able to get two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the third quarter. The Tigers went into the fourth quarter with a 20-6 lead that proved insurmountable.

Brown said one of Orem’s coaches gave a good speech at halftime. The message of his speech was do whatever it takes to win the game.

“We just ran the ball down their throats,” Brown said.

Orem won its previous three championships under coach Jeremy Hill. He was not on the sidelines this season.

In Hill’s place was Gabe Sewell, who became the 20th coach in state history to win a title game in his first year, per Felt’s Facts.

Skipps said Orem had trained hard to face Timpview before the regular-season game between them got canceled. But something told him the Tigers would see the Thunderbirds later on.

“After that week, moving on we were like, “Focus on this game, but we know we’re going to get Timpview in the end,” Skipps said. “So we had to prepare for them early. For us doing that, now we were able to win another one. … It was definitely worth the wait.”