5A high school football playoffs: Miners, minus suspended star, handle Hunter
SOUTH JORDAN — Even without star running back Harvey Langi, it was business as usual for Bingham High's football team against Hunter in the 5A playoffs.
Stefan Cantwell threw three touchdowns and Inoke Taufalele filled in admirably for Langi with two scores as the Miners shut out the visiting Wolverines 34-0 Saturday. Bingham will host Northridge, which defeated Alta 21-14 on Friday, in the quarterfinals.
"I felt like our kids went out and took care of business on both sides," Bingham coach Dave Peck said. "It was a good, workmanlike effort. Being able to keep them off the scoreboard was a great thing. In the playoffs, you never know what's going to happen, but I'm real happy with the way our defense played."
The Miners (11-0) actually scored their fewest points of the season, but registered their fourth shutout. Meanwhile, the Wolverines (7-4) were playing their second game in five days, having defeated Layton in a play-in game on Tuesday to reach the playoffs.
Taufalele, starting in place of the suspended Langi, was a revelation, showing a tremendous initial burst. The senior had gained over 100 yards rushing by his fourth carry and scored the Miners' first two touchdowns.
Still, Bingham's usual crispness appeared to be missing.
"To win with a shutout puts us in a good mood for next week, but we also need to work harder — especially me," Cantwell said. "I need to work harder in the passing game and make better reads. We're excited for the win, but we did make a couple bad plays and a couple net-loss plays. We have some work to do."
Cantwell's first touchdown pass, to Dalton Fackrell, put the Miners ahead 20-0 shortly before halftime. Cantwell connected with Josh Smith on a pair of scoring tosses in the second half to put Bingham well in control.
Though the Wolverines had trouble moving the ball, Peck said there was always a threat Hunter would break a long gain at any point.
"Hunter is a great program and they always pride themselves on running the ball and pounding the ball," Peck said. "Before you know it, the first quarter is over, then it's the middle of the second quarter, then the second half."
Taufalele finished with over 150 yards rushing while Cantwell threw for 150 and ran for 40 more. Smith had a pair of leaping receptions to lead the Miners.
Peck said he doesn't have to say much to motivate his team at this point.
"Every game we play, we tell the kids this is the most important week," Peck said. "We expect our kids to show up and work hard every week. Our goal is to be the best team in the state on a daily basis."
With its running game going nowhere, Hunter's Peter Fuimaona threw for 100 yards under constant pressure. The Wolverines missed a 34-yard field goal and lost a couple of possessions on downs inside the Bingham 35-yard line.
Bingham defeated Northridge 42-7 in the first round of the playoffs in 2008.
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