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5A football: Bingham's Loua could get by on talent, but his work ethic sets him apart on and off the field

SALT LAKE CITY — If any of Bingham’s players could rely on athletic ability alone, it would be Daniel Loua.

But the senior defensive back and running back also happens to be one of the hardest working players on the team, which only earned him more respect from his peers and affection from his coaches.

“He’s a great player, but he’s a better kid,” said Bingham defensive coordinator Karl Cloward. “He does things the Bingham way. I love him. I love him to death. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team, every day.” Loua finished with 63 yards rushing on nine carries with one touchdown, and he also had an interception for the Miners, who came from behind to beat Lone Peak 17-10 to win the 5A state title Friday.

“I said it before, he’s got my vote as MVP of this state,” said Bingham head coach John Lambourne. “He’s…phenomenal. He’s a football player with some savvy. He sees the field, he sets things up, he’s terrific. And he’s a great kid.”

After a celebratory Haka, Loua only wanted to talk about his teammates. He acknowledged there were moments when the dream seemed to be slipping out of reach. He said it was his teammates who brought the dream back into focus.

“My teammates, honestly,” he said of what helped him keep the faith. “They pump me up, and tell me, ‘Daniel, we got the next play.’”

He said their defensive breakdowns were execution mistakes.

“We struggled as a defense some, but then we came right back,” he said of Lone Peak taking a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and a half. “We had some blown coverages, but really we weren’t doing what the coaches were asking. We just had to do what the coaches asked, and that’s what happened at the end.”

Loua acknowledged there were stretches in which the Miners seemed like the longshot, even though they were ranked No. 1 and Lone Peak was No. 2. The reality was the Knights ended Bingham’s season last year in the semifinals. And while Lambourne was reluctant to call the extra hunger that the Miners felt entering the title game "revenge", everyone agreed there was a special urgency to taking the title from the same team that broke their hearts last season.

Cloward pointed out all the players from last season’s team on the sideline this year. “TABU – To all before u,” Cloward said, noting that the players feel like they owe a debt of gratitude to the players of the past. “There were a lot of guys who played last year on the sidelines, and this was for them too. …We feel like we let one go last year. We really wanted to make it happen. To have it be Lone Peak, that was just icing.”

Loua said he learned how to work, how to lead and how to serve by watching last year’s seniors.

“We wanted it really bad,” he said. “I give props to our younger guys because they played their hearts out for us seniors.”

Junior wide receiver Brayden Cosper, who caught a critical touchdown pass just before halftime that helped Bingham hold on, said Loua’s selfless commitment is an example to him.

“He’s big-time,” Cosper said. “He does everything for this team. I’m so glad we’re able to send him off right. He’s a great person and a great player.”

Email: adonaldson@deseretnews.com

Twitter: adonsports