SOUTH JORDAN — For three quarters, Cottonwood's high-powered offense kept looking for a big play that could change its fortunes against fellow 5A power Bingham.
The Colts never found it. Instead, it was the Miners who kept frustrating their homecoming opponent, breaking them down in the fourth quarter and earning an impressive 37-0 win Friday night.
Daniel Palepoi rushed for 174 yards and scored two touchdowns, but it was the momentum change caused after a 4th-and-1 play late in the third quarter that made the difference.
"It was 10-0 for a long time and they were still in the game," said Bingham coach Dave Peck. "But our defense played well tonight. That was probably our best overall game this year.
"Once we stopped them on that fourth down, that really took a lot out of them."
The Colts had trouble moving the ball all night. They finished with just 162 yards but still felt competitive when they faced that fourth-down play near midfield. A running play had netted nothing the play before, so Cooper Bateman tried to plow through his big offensive line on a quarterback sneak.
It didn't work, and Bingham's crowd celebrated the big play.
Three plays later, they celebrated again as Palepoi busted loose for a 32-yard scoring run. In retrospect, the game was over at that point.
"That was the big play. We were just deflated," said Cottonwood coach Josh Lyman. "We weren't on tonight, especially our offense. Our defense played well, but that's the second straight week our offense hasn't really performed. We've got to figure that out."
The Miners had no trouble piling it on. They stopped Cottonwood's next drive and Colts' punter T.J. Amone mishandled the snap, giving Bingham the ball eight yards away from another score. Two plays later, that's exactly what happened.
And it didn't stop.
Shinji Ishigaki broke loose on a 28-yard touchdown run and defensive back Landon Almond put the finishing touch on the game with a 23-yard interception return.
Bingham scored four touchdowns in 8:25 and the defense created most of it.
"Our defense really wasn't scored on last week," said Peck, referring to the 47-13 victory at Layton. "We dominated the line of scrimmage here tonight and really went after it."
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Cottonwood, which averaged 43 points per game last year, hadn't been blanked since 2003. The Colts reached Bingham's end zone once on a nice pass from Bateman to Inoke Lotulelei. However, it was wiped out by a penalty. Their only other highlight came when Luke Latteier blocked an extra-point attempt.
"Who knows what might have happened if we would have got that touchdown?" Lyman said.
The Colts would have had to improve their offensive line play to have had a chance. They were outrushed 258-49 and their top ground-gainer, Gabe Hosea, wasn't a factor. Bingham's Jared Afalava had a big game and he had a lot of help.