RIVERTON — Any time you score a win over a program as renowned as Bingham football, it’s a big deal.
But as Riverton coach Jody Morgan is quick to remind, the phrase, “any time” doesn’t exactly apply when it comes to the Silverwolves’ history versus the Miners.
“For the first time in 17 years isn’t exactly ‘any time,’”,Morgan said. “I mean, just about every kid on our team hadn’t even been born the last time we beat Bingham, so yeah, it was a huge win for us and for what we’re working to build here.”
Indeed, Morgan’s team turned around 17 years of futility versus Bingham on Friday, scoring a hard-fought 20-17 upset win that had Morgan understandably in high spirits the day after.
“It’s not like we’ve arrived or anything like that. It’s just one game, but considering the program is — it’s just a big win and I couldn’t be happier for the kids who got it done,” Morgan said.
Things rarely come easily when taking on Bingham, and Friday’s win was no exception. Sure, Bingham uncharacteristically turned it over six times, including two times within in Riverton territory late in the game. But good teams manage to capitalize on opportunities presented, which is exactly what Morgan’s team did.
Central to the win was getting off to an early 10-0 lead after the first quarter, which allowed Riverton to settle in and sort of relax, in a good way.
“There’s a lot of stress in these games — for both teams, but we just tried to get our players to relax and feel confident going in,” Morgan said. “So getting that early lead — maybe it was a result of the kids doing just that, but then having that lead absolutely helped us for the rest of the game.”
Bingham responded, however, and hit Riverton with two touchdowns to lead 14-13 at the half, while seemingly poised to roll in the second half, as Dave Peck-coached Miner teams often do.
“Oh, we’re very aware of how Bingham almost always plays its best ball in the second half, and emphasized that to the kids at the half,” Morgan said. “We let them all know that Bingham was going to be a different team and we had to become a different team for the second half to beat them.”
Morgan’s message was heard, evidenced by his team holding Bingham to just three points for the game’s final 24 minutes while adding seven to come away with a 20-17 win.
“I was so impressed with how our players just rose to the challenge and played even harder in the second half. I really was amazed by their play,” Morgan said. “Bingham is massive upfront and are obviously so well-coached. Like I said, we needed some things to go our way — things that don’t typically happen to Bingham — but we were fortunate and took advantage. I just couldn’t be prouder of my players for what they got done.”
Top playmakers pointed out by Morgan were defensive back Kaleb Hamblin, who scored a key turnover late to secure the win, along with quarterback Colby Barton, receiver Josh Jacobsen, running back Braden Woodruff, receiver Jaxon Bennett and a host of others.
“We don’t have kids with college offers, which means you need everyone playing together, which they did in the win,” Morgan said. “I think a kid like Kaleb Hamblin is a college athlete and hopefully he gets some looks, but no, we don’t have the number of college athletes a team like Bingham does.”
So where does the win leave Riverton in regard to where it’s at currently and what it can mean moving forward?
“I mean, we’re a long way from being a power program, or anything like that, but I think it says that we can get it done against the state’s best,” Morgan said. “Again, Bingham had a lot of things go wrong which absolutely helped us, but good teams take advantage of those things, and that’s the type of team we proved to be in the win. I really couldn’t be more proud of the players and how hard they’ve worked to get a win like this.”