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South Jordan Journal

Bingham football clinches an outright Region 3 title after an undefeated expedition was led by its offensive line

Nov 03, 2022 07:41PM ● By Brian Shaw

By Brian Shaw | [email protected]

The theme this season for the Bingham Miners football team was “Dig In.” In a 42-21 win over their rivals, Riverton, that clinched an outright Region 3 title Friday, Oct. 14, they did just that.

“I figured it was going to be a grind and resilience was going to be necessary to accomplish that goal,” said Bingham head coach Eric Jones.

The Bingham [8-2, 5-0 Region 3] offensive line was handed the assignment of leading this expedition before the season even started, according to Jones.

“We had some good and bad in the first half of the season which mirrored their play [a 3-2 record this preseason],” the first-year Bingham head coach added. 

This Miners’ O-line had a maturation process to go through early in the season, according to Jones. One sophomore was raw, but the other, more experienced four helped the new guy out by forging a path forward with their smarts, energy and optimism—which in turn led to dominance.

“The back half of the regular season was solid and consistent overall, which reflected how good the offensive line played down the stretch,” Jones said.

The unselfishness from that 5-man O-line that dug deep into the trenches and opened those holes was returned in kind by the players at the Miners’ skill positions.

In the final game of the regular season against Riverton, junior Havea Fotu leveled his opponent on a lead block, opening a hole for fellow running back and junior Carson Sudbury to jog into, where the end zone was the next destination and a 14-0 lead was the result over their rival.

When Riverton chopped the Miners lead to 14-7, into the pile went Sudbury to throw a block for his teammate, and it was Fotu’s turn to scurry around the right side for a 21-7 halftime lead.

“[Dallen] Martinez, Sudbury, and Fotu are great athletes but they're only as good as their blockers,” said Coach Jones.

Against Riverton, The Miners ran for a whopping 229 yards in the first half, giving very little ground up to their rivals.

Early in the third quarter, Bingham stamped its mark on this rivalry game and the region trophy when junior Dallen Martinez took off on a naked bootleg around that right end for a 28-7 lead with the PAT.

By the middle of the fourth quarter, the Miners had had over 50 carries on the ground, digging deeper the further they ventured into their rivals’ territory.

For the first time since 2017-18, the Bingham High football team were outright region champions once the horn sounded.

“Expectations are extremely high at Bingham; that's what I signed up for,” added the Bingham head coach. “I’m very proud of our players and coaches for learning a new offense, a new defense, creating new relationships, and still being able to deliver on one of our season goals.”


How They Got There

It’s important to remember how the Miners tunneled into this position—because it wasn’t always first accomplished on the offensive side of the football.

When region play got underway five weeks ago, the Miners were forced to dig themselves out from the dirt their opponents were piling on and so the offense needed help from their defense.

In their first region showdown at Herriman, the Miners found themselves trailing 7-3 in the second quarter, but their defense made a huge fourth-down stop. With great field position, the offense never looked back as senior Maddax Peck scored on one rushing TD. In the second half, Fotu and Sudbury would each tack on TD runs for a 23-15 win.

In the Miners second game of Region 3, they had to dig themselves out of a 10-0 hole at Mountain Ridge. Again it was the defense that helped out, as Tanoai Vehekite’s No. 17 jersey was so covered in dirt that you could’ve sworn it said No. 11 on it. The senior’s two blue gloves and 5-foot-9-inch frame somehow soared inches higher than the outstretched hands of two taller MR receivers to snatch an interception at Bingham’s own 30 in the second quarter. The Miners then scored 17 unanswered points, capped by a fourth quarter field goal from junior Kole Francom in a 24-13 victory.

On Homecoming Night against Copper Hills in the third Region 3 contest, the Miners offense showed they can get a lead and keep it, and go to the air if needed, as junior Dallen Martinez threw for two touchdowns and ran for three more in a 42-7 romp.

The Miners headed to West Jordan for their fourth Region 3 game, one that pitted two teams ranked in the Top 10 in Class 6A. Bingham made that a statement game behind a defense that had seven sacks. Standing behind that 5-man O-line who chipped at the West Jordan defense, junior Havea Fotu blasted his way through for three total TDs on just 10 carries in a 48-0 win.

By winning games in a variety of ways during these past five weeks of region play, you get the impression that a 20-pound weight was lifted off the shoulders of the first-year Bingham head coach.

“I’m very relieved and proud,” said Jones, who with the help of associate head coach/offensive coordinator Fred Fernandes, came over from Roy High and guided the Miners to their first outright region crown in six years, a top-8 seed in the 6A state playoffs and a first-round bye.

“It's a tremendous accomplishment, considering the caliber of talent and coaching we had to face in Region 3,” added the new Bingham head coach, who also received a celebratory water cooler dousing from his players after the win over rival Riverton.

“The kids told me congratulations and threw some nice cold water on me.”

Next up for these Miners is a chance to soak in this victorious moment before preparations begin for the 6A state playoffs, which will begin after we go to print. We’ll have a complete recap of the Miners’ trek to the 6A state tournament in next month’s South Jordan Journal.