Bingham football plays for title
Dec 02, 2016 04:13PM
● By Billy Swartzfager
2016 Bingham Miners varsity football team (Christian Wininger/Prep Action Photography)
Bingham football plays for title [2 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
By Billy Swartzfager | [email protected]
Bingham’s 2016 football team began the year ranked No. 1 in the state and finished the regular season undefeated, almost unchallenged. The Miners’ closest game was against a tough adversary, Jordan, which finished second in the region, their only region loss being to Bingham. Bingham won the Oct 13 game 58–40.
No other team scored more than 21 points against Bingham all year. There were many games the Miners held their opponents to a touchdown or less. Bingham started the year with three wins over non-region opponents, including their third game at Lone Peak, the team responsible for ending Bingham’s 2015 title run. Bingham beat Lone Peak on Sept. 2, 42-21. And, the week before that, the Miners clobbered reigning state champions, Herriman 45-0. Expectations climbed higher after such dominating performances against the team who had a lot of success in 2015.
Bingham played mostly region matchups for the rest of the season after the Lone Peak victory, holding all but Jordan to limited yardage and a touchdown or less, week after week. The wins racked up, as did the stats and the points. Bingham beat Copper Hills on Sept. 16, 52-6, Cottonwood 49-0 on Sept 30, Taylorsville, on Oct 7, 52-7 and Brighton, in the season finale on Oct 19, 28-7.
The offensive side of the team was led throughout the year by senior quarterback Matt Degn, senior running back Jahvontay Smith and junior wide receiver Brayden Cosper. The defense was led by seniors Daniel Loua, Tongi Langi and Langi Luifua, as well as sophomores Simote Pepa and Saleeka Ataata.
“We are grateful to have had an undefeated season thus far and hope to carry that momentum into our remaining games,” Bingham head coach John Lambourne said at the close of the regular season.
All of the preparation and success the Miners saw throughout the regular season carried over to the postseason as well. On Oct. 29, Bingham squared off against Hunter, winning easily 49-9. The following week, Bingham played Lehi, the second seed in the bracket. The Miners won again, 37-14, earning a spot in 2016’s semifinal game, the same game they lost in 2015, on Nov. 10, against Fremont, who only lost one game all season, against a very tough Roy team. Bingham was victorious again, beating the Silverwolves 35-12, cementing their place in the state championship game on Nov.18, against, none other than, Lone Peak.
Bingham has been playing at the top of its game all season. The players and coaches began the season in shape and ready to play, making the year a smooth one, one filled with progress and goals being achieved.
“We as coaches have really enjoyed coaching this group of kids,” Lambourne said. “They are a fun bunch of guys who play really hard with a passion for the game.”
There has been a lot of pressure on this Bingham squad. There were a lot of external expectations on the team, due in part to the amount of returning talent and last year’s unexpected semifinal loss. But, the Miners have faced the scrutiny and fared very well, focusing on their duties and the games at hand, not worrying too much about games beyond the next one.
“Day by day, drill by drill, etc. The requirements of the postseason are essentially the same as the regular season,” Lambourne said when asked about how his team continues to prepare and stay focused.
Bingham beat Lone Peak for the 5A state title on Nov. 18 by a score of 17–10, the closest game the Miners played all year. The game was played at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The miners trailed 10–0 close to the half for the first time this season, but Degn was able to connect with Cosper to come within three before the break. Another touchdown run by Daniel Loua in the third and a fourth quarter field goal by Kade Lever sealed the game and the victory for the Miners.
Bingham completed its third 14-win season. No other program has recorded more than one.