KEARNS — Despite a 46-0 road victory to advance to the semifinals of the 6A state tournament, with a tenacious defense that shuts down anyone they line up against and a dangerous offense that can make big plays happen in the blink of an eye, Bingham head coach John Lambourne is still seeing some things he feels his Miners (10-1) can clean up.
“We need to clean things up the best that we can,” explained Lambourne. “We haven’t really played a real clean game.
“Just play the best you can and advance. You have to play well. If you start floundering in the state tournament, it just snowballs,” he added.
Lambourne said his team hasn’t played up to their full level yet, but the product on the field has been unstoppable. Bingham’s defense came out and forced the Kearns Cougars (8-4) into three turnovers in the first half Friday.
Senior quarterback Peyton Jones and the rest of the Miners’ offense came out and put on a show for their traveling fans.
“I don’t know but for whatever reason, we just kind of clicked,” said Lambourne. “I can’t pinpoint it, it’s something that we’ve been looking for the whole year. I really don’t know but I’m glad it happened.”
Jones showed what makes him such a threat between the white lines with three touchdown passes to three different receivers.
Jones’ first touchdown came within the first minute of the game, as he connected with fellow senior Jake Cragun. He followed that score up with another long drive, this time he avoided the pressure collapsing around him and found his 6-foot-4 tight end, Briasen Harward in the middle of the end zone.
Jones took the top off the defense when he found a streaking Avi Parikh down the sidelines. The senior ran 72 yards for the Miners score, putting them up 21-0.
Bingham’s defense was not to be outshone by their dangerous offense. The defensive line caused rushed throws and short runs on most of Kearns’ drives. When Kearns got things rolling offensively, either a penalty or a negative play pushed back any momentum they had. Kearns’ offense put together a few chunk yard plays, but a crushing hit by Saleka Ataata on the Miners got the turnover and immediately scored on the heels of a 4-yard run by senior running back Raymond Lewis.
The Bingham defense wasn’t done, though. On the ensuing Cougar drive, Junior Tafuna picked off Kearns’ quarterback Dakota Lynde and took it to the end zone for another Miners touchdown. Bingham went to the locker room with a 38-point lead.
Lambourne attributed his team’s success by having a “close-knit group of kids who look out for each other.”
With the big lead, Lambourne elected to rest some of his players in the second half to preserve them for next week’s game.
“We focus on play-by-play,” Lambourne said. “For us now, it’s a matter of a one-game deal. We’ll go play that game, and see what happens, and hopefully we advance to the next one, but we really have to focus on one at a time.”
Bingham will face No. 3 seeded American Fork next week at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Marcos Aragon is the Editor-in-Chief of the Salt Lake Community College student publication, The Globe.