In the last 10 football seasons, Bingham and Lone Peak have met in the playoffs five times, and until Friday night, each school has ended the other’s season twice.
No other 6A quarterfinal match could match the anticipation between these 6A juggernauts, and the contest lived up to its billing as the Miners held off the Knights 25-19 on a cold night on their home field.
Every possession was important, especially in the second half. In the end, Bingham quarterback Dallen Martinez had a nearly error-free game while running for one touchdown and passing for another, Kelan Francom kicked a 38-yard field goal after two nearly disastrous penalties and the Miners stopped a fourth-down pass near their goal line in the final minute.
“That’s a game that could have gone either way,” said Bingham’s first-year coach Eric Jones. “And we figured it was going to be a one-score game all week. The way we finished showed a lot of character.”
Lone Peak entered the game as the defending 6A state champ and, despite being the 11th seed after finishing fourth in the Region 4 standings, acted like the favorite for much of the game. In the first quarter, kicker Ian Sanchez nailed a 55-yard field goal.
Bingham was the third seed, however, with a fine tradition that was rebuilt by being Utah’s most-dominant football program from around 2005 through 2018.
With former coaches Dave Peck and John Lambourne watching quietly on the Bingham sideline, Jones showed how Bingham had won its last seven games and captured the Region 3 crown, creating an offense using conservative throws by Martinez, who completed 11 of 12 passes for 126 yards, an aggressive rushing attack that chewed up the clock and earned first downs and of course, a stiff defense.
The Miners scored on nearly every second-half possession, but still trailed 19-15 after Lone Peak’s Kaden Hodson scored on a quarterback sneak on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Bingham then went on a 65-yard, 10-play drive that was all runs until Martinez found Havea Fotu open on a screen pass, and the running back followed his blockers into the end zone.
The Miners stopped Lone Peak on its next drive, and a rare fourth-down stop at its own 20 set up Bingham for a field goal and a six-point lead.
It also set up an exciting finish as Hodson showed a unique ability to make clutch plays on third and fourth downs, including a 45-yard “Hail Mary pass to Cole Christensen gave Lone Peak new life. The Knights eventually reached Bingham’s 13-yard line, but Hodson’s final effort was tipped away and started a Bingham celebration that lasted at least 30 minutes after the game.
With the win, Bingham improved its record to 10-2 and will play Skyridge next week for the first time since 2020 at the University of Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Lone Peak ended its season 7-5 and had shown a lot of promise after two impressive playoff wins coming into this game.