5A high school football championship: Bingham challenger very similar to last year's
Michael Brandy, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — In watching film and studying his opponent for Friday's 5A state championship, Bingham coach Dave Peck knew right away why Fremont looked so familiar. It's Davis all over again, but with blue uniforms.
He believes the Silver Wolves are very similar to last year's Davis team, which the Miners beat 35-24 to claim the state title.
Just like Davis a year ago, Fremont won the Region 1 championship. And just like last year's 5A runner-ups, the 'Wolves feature an outstanding defense, one of the best running backs in the state and an offense that likes to control the clock.
The pseudo-rematch is actually a scary scenario for No. 1 Bingham.
"Last year we felt pretty good going into it but were behind going into the fourth quarter and had to rally," said Peck. "It's almost kind of eerie how the top team out of Region 1 has got through again," said Peck.
Regardless of the opponent, Bingham is heavily favored once again. Ranked nationally all season, the Miners have won 23 straight games, enjoy a 41-point average margin of victory and are loaded with future college stars.
A Fremont victory would be a major upset, but the 'Wolves are perfectly content with their role as underdog in Friday's game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, which kicks off at 2:30 p.m.
"They're going to be tough, that's for sure. They've proved that multiple times this year. Like every game, we'll have to come out, play hard, play our best game, play their best game, and see what happens — hopefully come out with a victory," said Fremont's Tayson Wilson.
Basically, Fremont can't turn it over four times like it did in a 20-14 semifinal win over Lone Peak. Bingham is notorious for pouncing on turnovers and burying an opponent early.
In a 51-23 semifinal rout of Jordan last week, Bingham forced four turnovers and scored 28 points of those Jordan giveaways. In 12 games this season, Bingham has 19 interceptions, six fumble recoveries and eight defensive touchdowns.
It's pretty easy to see why ball security will be Fremont's No. 1 objective.
"We can't make the little mistakes that we made last week for this game. We have to polish up everything, and we all need to get on the same page," said Fremont receiver Tate Lewis.
Fremont needs to get running back Nick Vigil going as well. The junior has rushed for 1,697 yards this year and 17 touchdowns. If he can move the chains, it will keep an explosive Bingham offense that's averaging over 50 points per game on the sideline.
Bingham quarterback Stefan Cantwell believes if his team comes out with the same intensity it did against Jordan, back-to-back state titles are very realistic.
"We need to do the same thing we did against Jordan, run the ball effectively and throw the ball effectively," he said.
Scoring offense: 25.6 ppg
Scoring defense: 13.3 ppg
Passing leader: Aaron Van Woerkom (124-228, 54.4%, 1,487 yards, 13 TDs, 3 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Nick Vigil (267 carries, 1,697 yards, 17 TDs)
Receiving leader: Tate Lewis (44 rec., 692 yards, 6 TDs), Rowdy Stucki (23, 319, 5)
Tackles leader: Bryan Thompson (89 total tackles)
Sacks leader: Lloyd Stephens (6.5 sacks)
Int. leader: Tyson Montgomery, Bryan Thompson (4)
Scoring offense: 50.7 ppg
Scoring defense: 9.7 ppg
Passing leader: Stefan Cantwell (97-156, 62.2&, 1,758 yards, 27 TDs, 4 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Harvey Langi (136 carries, 1,346 yards, 17 TDs)
Tackles leader: Manoa Pikula (81 total tackles)
Sacks leader: Moses Kaumatule (5 sacks)
Aug. 20 … Jordan 27, Fremont 17
Aug. 27 … Fremont 42, Roy 0
Sept. 3 … Fremont 24, Clearfield 12
Sept. 10 … Fremont 10, Weber 7
Sept. 17 … Fremont 24, Syracuse 21 (OT)
Sept. 24 … Fremont 45, Layton 21
Oct. 1Fremont 27, Northridge 21 (2OT)
Oct. 8 … Fremont 24, Viewmont 7
Oct. 13 … Fremont 14, Davis 6
Oct. 30 … Fremont 29, Pleasant Grove 6
Nov. 5 … Fremont 31, Skyline 17
Nov. 14 … Fremont 20, Lone Peak 17
Aug. 20 … Bingham 51, Viewmont 0
Aug. 28 … Bingham 49, Alta 26
Sept. 2 … Bingham 48, Pleasant Grove 3
Sept. 17 … Bingham 48, Herriman 0
Sept. 24 … Bingham 52, Kearns 7
Sept. 30 … Bingham 63, Copper Hills 0
Oct. 8 … Bingham 50, West Jordan 24
Oct. 13 … Bingham 52, Riverton 13
Oct. 21 … Bingham 56, Taylorsville 7
Oct. 30 … Bingham 34, Hunter 0
Nov. 5 … Bingham 54, Northridge 13
Nov. 11 … Bingham 51, Jordan 23