PLEASANT GROVE — Bingham kicker Nathan Chamberlain ended Pleasant Grove’s season Friday evening with his biggest boot of the season.
The junior capped off Bingham’s final drive of the game with a 28-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Miners a 24-21 road win and a berth in the 6A quarterfinals.
After missing a 33-yard field goal at the end of the first half, a kick that saw the ball bounce off the upright, Chamberlain was focused on making his second one count.
“We decided I’m only allowed one miss in a game,” he said. “I missed the first one. I’m not allowed to miss (the second) one.”
Chamberlain’s kicking coach, Joseph Vasquez, was confident his kicker would make up for his first half miscue.
“He had missed that first field goal to start the game and I just told him, ‘You know you get a redemption shot right here.’ I told him to trust his guys, trust his blockers, his snapper, holder and trust himself and that he gets to end someone’s season,” Vasquez said. “That kid has such a great head on his shoulders. He’s so calm. I think (he is) one of the best kickers in the state.”
Chamberlain’s first half struggles and second half redemption encapsulated the night for the entire Bingham squad. The Miners’ first drive ended when Troy Mehn’s pass was intercepted by Viking senior cornerback Cooper Camberlango on the Pleasant Grove 9-yard line.
Longtime Bingham head coach Dave Peck felt that his team could have played better in the first half.
“I thought the intensity was good,” he said. “I think it was either two or three times we had them at third and long. We were making a lot of good plays but giving up a bad big play.”
Despite a rough start for the Miners, the Vikings only scored 7 points in the first half and led by a touchdown at intermission.
Bingham started to take control of the game in the third quarter, scoring 14 unanswered points. Senior wide receiver Isaiah Glasker got the Miners on the board with a 48-yard touchdown catch, tying the game at 7 apiece. Havea Fotu led the charge on the following drive, breaking free for 46 yards before punching the ball into the end zone on a 1-yard score.
Pleasant Grove responded in the final period, though. The Vikings notched the game up at 14 when sophomore quarterback Dave Brinton dodged defenders on his way to the goal line for a 10-yard touchdown.
Both teams would score again before Chamberlain kicked his way to heroism. Bingham scored when senior speedster Jake Mortensen scooped up a Fotu fumble and dashed into the end zone. Not to be outdone, Pleasant Grove put together a 76-yard drive, scoring on a 31-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Darrius Clemons in the back of the end zone.
With just under three minutes left in the game, Bingham marched down the field to set up Chamberlain for his dramatic boot.
Bingham will move on to the next round, where it will face off against Corner Canyon. Peck knows his team faces a tall task going up against the 6A defending state champions.
“We’ve got to control the ball,” he said. “We’ve got to finish drives. We’ve got to win the turnover margin. If you don’t, they’re a special team. We’ll try to mix it up.”
The two teams will face off next Friday in Draper at 6 p.m.