SALT LAKE CITY — Derailing the Bingham football machine has proved an extremely tough task most recent years, and may very well be even tougher this season. Serving up prime evidence of that fact was the Miners' 30-8 demolition of East on Friday on the Leopards' home field.
Most regarded East as Bingham's primary competition entering the season, and for good reason, considering the strides made within coach Brandon Matich's program. But on Friday, the Miners proved in an emphatic fashion they're still the king of the hill and it's going to prove tough to throw them off.
The Miners proved efficient enough on offense, but it was the defense that completely shut down East's normal high-octane attack on Friday. The Leopards accounted for just 54 yards of total offense prior to a game-ending touchdown drive when the Miners were up 30-0.
“I feel today we were more focused than usual, and we wanted everything to be perfect, and I felt defensively we were pretty perfect,” said Bingham linebacker Lolani Langi. “We clicked, other than those last couple of drives.”
According to Bingham coach John Lambourne, a lot of the defensive dominance comes from some self-deprication.
“We always think that we’re not very good and that we’re going to have to play hard,” Lambourne said. “We know we’ve got good guys, but we have a lot of guys at some new positions.”
Couple that with of the minimal yards allowed with forcing four turnovers, and it's somewhat easy to agree with Langi's assessment of playing, 'pretty perfect.'
Although the Miner defense was clearly the star of the night, it was a special-teams play made by Jared Greenfield that jump-started it all. The senior defensive back switched direction effectively for a 62-yard punt return that put the Miners up 7-0 midway through the first quarter.
From there the defense, and four forced fumbles that resulted in turnovers, kept the Leopards completely at bay, with Lambourne crediting most of it to his dominating defensive front, which is led by standout defensive tackle Simote Pepa.
“You have turnovers and then you have some momentum,” Lambourne said. “Our guys up front defensively did just a phenomenal job. I just can’t say enough about what we were doing up there, defensively.”
Two of the fumbles led directly to Bingham touchdowns, with the first setting up the offense on East's 21-yard line soon after Greenfield's touchdown. A few plays later saw Bingham quarterback Payton Jones connect with receiver Avi Parikh for a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Lambourne also reserved praise for the play of his defensive backs.
“We also had some pretty critical tackles out on the edges,” Lambourne said, singling out a few made by defensive back Aiden Larsen. “So that’s something that sticks out in my mind…It was a good team effort by everybody.”
Also playing big was running back Andrew Wimmer, who logged two touchdowns in shouldering perhaps more of the load in the wake of the season-ending injury sustained by Braedon Wissler in Bingham's win over Orem last week.
“Truth of the matter is these rough things happen and Braedon is a tough kid,” Lambourne said. “I can assure you he’s going to deal with this really well and it’s not the last football he’ll play.”
With the win, Bingham improves to 2-0 on the season and will next take on Herriman in its home opener. East falls to 1-1 with the loss and will work to rebound two weeks with a game at Texas prep powerhouse Allen.