Note: Bingham finished with a 13-1 overall record in 2009 and a 5-0 record in Region 3. It beat Davis, 35-24, to win the 5A state championship.
SOUTH JORDAN — Because of how incredibly talented Bingham's senior class is — Bingham seniors-to-be have received a host of scholarship offers from Division 1 schools and many believe their class to be one of the best in state history — Bingham coach Dave Peck worried about whether his guys would be willing to work as hard as they needed to between the end of last year and the start of this year.
To date, however, the Miners haven't shown any signs of complacency. To the contrary, the defending 5A champs — led by their superb senior class — have continued to work incredibly hard, and all signs point to them being a really great football team once the lights come on next weekend.
"I was really nervous going into this that the kids would have it be all about them because they have so many offers, but I will say that through summer camp, through all our conditioning (and) everything that we've done, the work ethic has been great," said Peck. "I have no complaints at all — in fact, I think the kids have been great.
"We all understand that we have a really talented team of kids coming back, and the bottom line is our goal is just to see how good we can be and to be the best team in the state on a daily basis."
From top to bottom, everyone associated with Bingham football realizes just how special this senior class is, and everyone is determined to enjoy the ride.
"We know it's gonna be a good year," said senior quarterback Stefan Cantwell, who's surrounded by talent, as all his starting skill-position players are back and he's got a fabulous O-line in front of him.
"We have a good team, (and) we've been practicing hard. We know we're gonna do good, and we just want to have fun. That's what I think about — I think about how fun it's going to be: Senior year, nothing to lose, just go out and do our best."
Having fun has been on the mind of Peck, believing he will never again coach a senior class as good as this one.
"As a high school coach, it's once in a career and most coaches don't ever have anything like this once in their careers," said Peck. "I'm just fortunate to be here. I tell our kids this all the time, 'Sometimes you wonder why certain people are together at a certain time,' and I just think we're all grateful to be here together at the same time — and I'm just talkin' about being with good people who are working hard and are in this together.
"There's no doubt this is a great situation to be in, and I'm just proud of where we're at. I'm not proud of the wins — I'm proud of the program we run. I just feel real good about it; I really do."
Bingham Miners at a glance:
Coach: Dave Peck has amassed a 96-29 record heading into his 11th year as Bingham's head coach. During that time, he's turned the Miners' program into one of the best — if not the best — in the entire state.
(9 returning starters, Multiple sets)
Superstar running back Harvey Langi returns for his senior season and headlines a terrific cast of offensive characters. Cantwell joins him in the backfield as the full-time starter at quarterback, with Inoke Taufalele, Richie Vakapuna and move-in Daniel Palepoi all slated to contribute in the backfield. Receivers Josh Smith, Dalton Fackrell and Brady Meason — a Big 3 of sorts — will catch lots of passes, and O-linemen Kesni Tausinga, Jordan Hicks and Alex Taumoepeau lead the way on a unit that must replace three graduated stars.
(9 returning starters, 3-4 defense)
Bingham's Front 7 is absolutely terrific and must be considered the best in the state of Utah. Seni Fauonuku, Baker Pritchard, Moses Kaumatule and Lowell Lotulelei will rotate through three defensive-line positions and Manoa Pikula, Roman Valenzuela, Jared Afalava, Andrew Clark and Jake Bright will rotate through four linebacking positions. All of them are phenomenal players. In the secondary, free safety Bridger Peck is the only full-time returning starter, but Logan Parker should be an absolute star at cornerback and other guys are capable of filling in the other secondary positions.
Coaches preseason Region 3 straw poll: First
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: First
Bottom line: Pencil Bingham in as the team-to-beat in the state of Utah. Whether the Miners ultimately finish as the state champ in 5A remains to be seen, but heading in to the season, few — if anyone — will argue that they belong atop any list of "5A favorites."
Aug. 20 — at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Aug. 28 — vs. Alta at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 — PLEASANT GROVE, 7 p.m.
Sept. 17 — at Herriman, 7 p.m.
Sept. 24 — KEARNS, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30 — at Copper Hills, 7 p.m.
Oct. 8 — WEST JORDAN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 — at Riverton, 7 p.m.
Oct. 21 — TAYLORSVILLE, 7 p.m.