For the second time in the past five years, Bingham High’s football team has won back-to-back state championships. This year, the Miners defeated American Fork 20-3 Nov. 21 at Rice-Eccles Stadium to win their fifth state title since 2006.
“Number five is just as sweet,” Bingham head coach Dave Peck said. “This feeling never gets old, and it’s so exciting to see a new group of kids experience this.”
The Miners only loss in their 14-game season – and throughout the entire program, including the sophomore and junior varsity teams – was to Bishop Gorman, Nev., the top-ranked team in the country, 23-20 in overtime Sept. 5.
Bingham’s defense gave up just 12 points in four state playoff games, beginning with an Oct. 31 victory over Weber, 30-0, following by a 36-6 win against Herriman Nov. 7. In the semifinal game against Riverton Nov. 13, the Miners’ starting quarterback Kyle Gearig – the Region 3 Offensive Most Valuable Player and First Team All-State – left the game in the second quarter with an elbow injury that kept him out of the title game. Backup quarterback senior Ben Bolter came in and threw three touchdown passes, completing 10-of-12 attempts for 218 yards, to lead Bingham to a 35-3 victory to return to the state title game to defend its 2013 championship.
“We lost some starters late in the year, but we’re at a point at Bingham where it’s ‘next man up,’” Peck said. “I was concerned, of course, with Kyle’s injury, but Ben was our starting JV quarterback last year and that kid’s simply used to winning.”
Bingham was anchored offensively by Second Team All-State running back Cameron Smith with nearly 1,400 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns. He also had close to 400 yards receiving and six TDs. Senior Aaron Marsh, a First Team All-Region selection, also had 581 yards and six touchdowns out of the backfield. Before Gearig’s injury, he completed more than 1,600 yards in passing with 25 TDs.
Senior Michael Green, who was named Most Outstanding Wide Receiver in Region 3 and Honorable Mention All-State, along with First Team All-Region receiver Colton Livingston, combined for more than 800 yards and 13 TDs on the season.
Defensively, Bingham was led by Region 3 Defensive MVP and First Team All-State senior linebacker Daniel Langi – 116 tackles, four sacks and four interceptions – and Region 3 MVP and First Team All-State defensive back Kade Cloward, with 97 tackles and five interceptions. Junior linebacker Parker Workman, a Second Team All-State selection, also recorded 13.5 sacks and 81 tackles.
Peck praised his 34 seniors for their leadership on and off the field this season.
“I love these kids and what they brought to this team,” he said. “They were great leaders who found a way to inspire each other.”
Three players were named Academic All-State – running back Will Anderson, offensive lineman Joey Coletti and tight end Matt Larson – while Parker Atkin, Morgan Degooyer, Dallen Hardy, Kade Cloward, Michael Green, Jeremy Fox, Aaron Marsh, Kyle Gearig, Ben Boelter, Riley Sharp and Chayden Johnston were recognized as Academic All-Region.
Senior kicker Chayden Johnston was named Region 3 Special Teams MVP and First Team All-State with offensive linemen Cole Clemens and Daniel Gasio, defensive backs Chase Messervy and Dominieke Jones, defensive linemen Jay Tufele and Langi Tuifua and Workman all recognized as Most Outstanding in Region 3 at their positions.Gasio and Tuifua were named First Team All-State while Tufele and Jones were named to the Second Team. Clemens was given Honorable Mention All-State recognition.
Other Miner players on the All-Region First Team were Coletti, tight end Zach Burge, linebacker Simian Matagi, defensive lineman Brigham Tuatagaloa and defensive backs Ethan Erickson and Simote Lokotui.
Atkin, wide receiver Morgan Degooyer, running back Colton Hicks, lineman Soni Ofahengaue, offensive linemen Tavian Myers and Auston Smith, along with linebackers Kent Sasine and Dallen Hardy were recognized on the All-Region Second Team.
Bingham was invited to play in the inaugural State Championship Bowl Series, which is scheduled to be aired live on ESPNU from Boca Raton, Fla. on Dec. 27 at 6 p.m.
“This is a great opportunity for the state of Utah,” Peck said. “They have invited 75 of us for an all-expenses-paid bowl game that will be first-class everything. I’m really excited for our kids to have an opportunity to compete against the best from other states.”