Note: The Miners won the 2010 5A state title without losing a single game. Bingham finished 6-0 in region play and 13-0 overall.
SOUTH JORDAN — To say this year's Bingham football team has big shoes to fill would be an understatement.
Not only did last year's team go undefeated and win a region and state title, 15 of the graduating seniors signed with different colleges and universities. Add to last year's success the tradition of Bingham football, and one might assume this year's team is feeling a little overwhelmed.
Not at all.
In fact, this year's group of players, which includes only five returning starters, has worked long and hard for its chance to add to that Bingham tradition.
"We feel pressure, but we're ready to step up," said Zach Kidd, a senior offensive lineman.
Senior quarterback Brady Lail adds, "Our coaches will have us ready."
Senior running back Daniel Palepoi, one of the two returning offensive starters, said they are all aware how much it would mean for a team to beat the Miners.
"It's a confidence booster," he said of the pressure. "You know they're only aiming at you for one reason, and that's because we're the top dog in the state. We welcome it with open arms."
Head coach Dave Peck said his goal for this team is the same as it has been for every team he's coached.
"I'm driven," he said laughing. "So, our goal is just to do everything better than everyone else, no matter what it is."
Whether it's hitting, hustling or blocking, Peck challenges his players to do it better every practice, every play.
"We have not changed a thing," he said of losing so many college-bound players. "In fact, we're trying to raise the bar in all areas of their lives. We raised the GPA to 2.5 to be eligible to play…I don't feel like the kids are feeling any pressure at all."
Peck said that if asked at the end of last season, he would have predicted a bit of a drop off for this year's team.
"But we've had a terrific summer," said Peck with a wide grin. "We can't control how good the other teams are, but this is a great group, and I could not ask for more from them. This is one of the funnest years I've had as a coach."
From sophomores to varsity players, the attitude is one of excitement and energy.
"Would I be shocked if they went on and won it all?" Peck asked. "I would not. They're doing everything that's asked of them, and they're doing it right."
Bingham Miners at a glance
Coach: Dave Peck is in his 12th year as Bingham's head coach. He owns an overall record of 109-29. He is in his 18th year as a head coach with a 136-63 record. He is a graduate of Cyprus High.
(2 returning starters)
Quarterback Brady Lail will lead the offense, but he will have significant help from senior running back Daniel Palepoi and senior fullback Tisi Tuifua. Junior Keegan Hicks will anchor the offensive line, and Hayden Weichers should catch a lot of passes at wide receiver.
(3 returning starters)
Jared Afalava, senior linebacker, Lowell Lotulelei, junior defensive lineman, and Kendal Cloward, senior strong safety, will anchor the defense as the only returning starters. Linebackers Paul Langi, Taylor Hansen and Rance Krushensky are all expected to play big roles on defense.
Aug. 19 - WEST JORDAN, 7 p.m.
Aug. 27 - vs. Alta at Rice-Eccles, 8 p.m.
Sept. 3 - Orange Lutheran, Calif. at Mission Viejo High, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 9 - at Layton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 16 - COTTONWOOD, 7 p.m.
Sept. 23 - at Riverton, 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 - LONE PEAK, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7 - at American Fork, 7 p.m.
Oct. 14 - at Lehi, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 - PLEASANT GROVE, 7 p.m.