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High school football: Bingham overcomes a whirlwind of adversity to score an emotional 31-21 win over Timpview

Bingham has had many things thrown at it this year, making Thursday’s win over the T-Birds all the more satisfying

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Bingham’s Parker Gurr (5) hurdles agains Timpview’s Elijah Allen (2) during a high school football game at Bingham High School in South Jordan on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

SOUTH JORDAN — Most football games rarely give a glimpse into everything that goes into it, with Bingham’s 31-21 win over Timpview on Thursday providing a notable example.

The Miners fought through some adversity in the game to warrant the win, although nothing that occurred during the 48 minutes of game time can match the adversity faced and overcome over the past six months.

“It seems like every week it’s been something else, on top of another thing,” said Bingham coach Dave Peck. “... A lot of it has been COVID related, but there’s been a lot of other things.”

As for fighting through the COVID-19 pandemic repercussions, a stark reminder of how sharply the virus can affect people’s lives is unfortunately right in front of Bingham standout lineman LJ Tufele, and subsequently for the entire Miner team. Tufele, whose older brother, Jay Tufele plays for USC, has an older sister who is currently hospitalized and on life support, according to Peck, due to contracting the COVID-19 virus.

“COVID doesn’t seem real until you know someone dying from it. Then it becomes real,” Peck said.

As mentioned, the ordeal being experienced by the Tufele family is just one of several obstacles the Miners are fighting to overcome — whether it be dealing with deaths in the family or coaching changes, the challenges have come hard at Bingham this year.

All of which made the Miners’ first win of the season all the more satisfying.

As for how they got to that win, it was all about fighting through circumstances met by having the T-Birds cut a 24-0 lead to just 24-21 in the fourth quarter after Raider Damuni picked off a pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown.

It was the third turnover of the half committed by the Miners, turning a seemingly easy win into one they had to work every inch for.

Fortunately, Bingham had just what it needed to respond, specifically in the form of powerful running back Saia Lomu, who broke numerous tackles during Bingham’s final touchdown drive during most runs. His final run proved a 16-yard bulldoze into the end zone to push the score to 31-21 with just 1:03 remaining.

“First two games were rough, but no one in this program panicked,” Peck said. “You could see our players play with a lot of energy tonight and they just wanted this.”

Other Bingham standouts included quarterback Troy Mehn, who ran for a touchdown and threw for another. Defensive standouts were Vilianmi Pouha, who scored a big pass knockdown on a fourth-and-1 attempt by Timpview in the second half, and Jaxon Thurman, who scored an interception to stymie another Timpview scoring threat.

“When things started going bad, it would have been real easy to fold and we didn’t,” Peck said. “Offense had a huge drive to put the game away and defense had some huge stops. I’m proud of them.”

With the win, Bingham improves to 1-2 on the year and will next take on Westlake. Timpview drops to 0-3 with the loss and will look to rebound next week when taking on Mountain Ridge.