High school football: Alta hopes for another shot at No. 1 Bingham

Published: Sunday, Aug. 29 2010 11:27 p.m. MDT

Alta is already counting down the days until its rematch with Bingham.

There's no guarantee it will come to fruition, but in each of the past four seasons, the rival schools have followed up their regular season meeting with a playoff clash at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"That's our goal: We want to meet those guys again in 12 weeks, and hopefully we can keep it closer down the stretch," said Alta coach Les Hamilton late Saturday night after his team lost to Bingham 49-26 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

It was the ninth meeting between the teams since 2006, with the Miners holding a 6-3 advantage.

As for Alta's hopes of returning the favor in November, they don't look good. In the previous four years, the team that won the regular season meeting also won the playoff meeting.

If they do meet again, both coaches believe there is a lot of improvement that needs to be made.

After hanging 49 points on Alta, it's hard to believe Bingham can play any better, but coach Dave Peck said the goal defensively was to keep the Hawks to 14 points or fewer.

"Fourteen or below was a good goal coming into this game, and we gave up 26, which is too many, and we'll need to be better if we play them again," said Peck.

With the Miners ranked in the top 10 nationally in most high school football polls, Peck knows simply winning isn't good enough this year. There are voters to impress across the country.

"We understand, because of the high national ranking, we need to take care of business every week and do it handily. I hated to give up that last touchdown," said Peck.

As for Alta, surrendering three touchdowns in a span of five offensive plays was an absolute back-breaker. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he's sees parallels to the Bingham game and a Week 1 collapse against Cottonwood.

"They're fantastic, we know that, but we can't control that. What we can control is not making those big errors down the stretch, and it's two weeks in a row where we've had a chance in big games and kind of shot ourselves in the foot," said Hamilton.

DEFENDING HIS DECISION: The general consensus in the football world is teams should never chance points and try a two-point conversion in the first half. With over half the game remaining, and a success rate of less than 50 percent, statistically, the two-point conversion is generally regarded as an unnecessary gamble.

However, trailing 8-6 early in the second quarter after a touchdown, Alta went for two and failed.

"We've got to try and match what they're going to do, because you know they're going to score some points," said Hamilton about the decision.

When Bingham scored again midway through the quarter, suddenly the Hawks found themselves down two possessions at 15-6.

Had Alta just kicked the extra point throughout the game instead of chasing points, everything would've evened out, and it would've only been down 28-21 early in the fourth quarter. Instead, it was down 28-18, which might've had a psychological impact on the rest of the game.

BEST OF THE WEST: Scout.com recently released its running back rankings for the top seniors in the West, and Bingham's Harvey Langi checked in at No. 1.

After seeing him torched Alta's defense for 222 yards and four touchdowns at Rice-Eccles Stadium, it's easy to see why so many college coaches across the country would love to sign him.

BYU BLUE: Ashley Garfield wasn't sure which sport she'd rather play in college — volleyball or basketball.

She did know, however, which university she'd like to play for — BYU.

So when Cougar head coach Jeff Judkins offered her a scholarship to play basketball for BYU next year, Garfield was elated.

"It was kind of a relief, kind of a surprise, a little bit of everything," said the Morgan senior who was offered a scholarship after an elite camp at BYU in June. "I'd gone on an unofficial visit earlier this spring. I've always been a fan of BYU; that was kind of my dream."

At 5-11, the athletic senior will sign a letter of intent during the early signing period this fall. She was also recruited by Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Long Beach State and Princeton. Garfield is a first-team all-state girls basketball player and was the 3A MVP in volleyball last year.

Garfield's older sister plays volleyball at UVU, and the senior said she didn't have a preference on which sport she played in college.

"I just seemed to get a lot more interest in basketball," she said.

e-mail: jedward@desnews.com

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