Bingham (9-2) at Fremont (8-2)
5A state tournament quarterfinal
Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Bingham by 7
All-time series: Bingham leads 7-3
Coach vs. coach: Bingham's Dave Peck leads Fremont's Kory Bosgeiter, 2-0
Last meeting: Nov. 19, 2011, Bingham 30, Fremont 7 (5A championship)
It's been almost a year ago, but that day last November left a lasting impression with both the Bingham and Fremont football teams.
The Miners blasted the Silver Wolves 30-7 for the 5A state championship on Nov. 19 of last year. And while that glorious day will live on in the hearts and minds of Bingham High players, coaches, parents and fans forever, it brings back some bitter memories, both physically and emotionally, for the folks from Fremont.
"We used that game as an example of things we needed to fix that we didn't do well in that game," said Fremont coach Kory Bosgieter, whose team hosts the Miners in a 5A quarterfinal rematch on Friday. "Those are the things that we don't want to happen again.
"But last year was last year, and this year is this year. We're excited to play them again, and we're pleased with how our preparation has gone this week.
"Offensively, we were a little nicked up last year, and then our starting quarterback got his jaw broken in the first half," Bosgieter said of last year's lopsided title-game loss. "I feel much better about our injury situation this year. We're a lot healthier than we were a year ago."
Bingham quarterback Brady Lail has thrown for more than 1,500 yards and 19 touchdowns, and his top targets are Kalan Cantwell (7 catches for 512 yards and seven touchdowns) and Hayden Weichers (29 catches for 617 yards and nine TDs).
Running back Daniel Palepoi leads the Miners' ground game, rushing for over 1,100 yards and 11 touchdowns.
"That running back of theirs is excellent," Bosgieter said of Palepoi. "He's big, and he runs hard."
Jared Afalava and Drake Miller are the top tacklers for the Miners' defense.
"Bingham's a good team, and they're very well-coached and very athletic," Bosgieter said. "Their middle linebacker (Afalava) is very athletic and as highly recruited as anybody around. Their D-line gets up and goes, and their secondary is very good, too.
"Their quarterback throws the ball well; they have three very capable receivers with a good tight end, and their O-line is very well-coached.
"Bingham's strength is always their depth. They have so many quality guys on their team," Bosgieter said. "Dave (Peck) emphasizes the same things in his program that we emphasize in ours. They're fundamentally sound; they block well and they tackle well."
In turn, Bingham coach Dave Peck has nothing but good things to say about Fremont's program as well. He and Bosgieter have got a mutual admiration for each other's way of doing things and, the best thing about it is, it's totally sincere.
"I've got a lot of respect for Fremont," Peck said. "Their coaches do about as good a job as anybody out there. ... They're a no-nonsense team and are real physical. I think our programs are a lot alike. We both work on fundamentals a lot.
"The winner of this game is going to be the team that wins the turnover battle. Whoever takes care of the ball best will win it. We're looking forward to going up there and playing them. I think it's going to be a great game between two evenly-matched teams."
Peck's program has emerged as one of the premier powerhouses in Utah prep football history, winning back-to-back state championships and three 5A titles over the last five years. And in the two years the Miners didn't win it all during that span, they lost once in the finals and the other time in the semifinals. A win on Friday would send Bingham to the semifinals for the sixth straight year.
"I feel good about how our kids have come along this year, and right now our kids expect to win," Peck said. "We feel like that (strong postseason tradition) is an advantage for us. We've been there and done that."
For Fremont, the quarterback tandem of Cooper Kelley and Jordan Preator has been exceptional this season. Kelley has thrown for 1,300 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Preator has rushed for 629 yards — an impressive average of over 7 yards per carry — and five TDs. Nick Vigil spearheads the Silver Wolves' ground game with 802 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns.
Brock Smith and Rowdy Stucki are the Wolves' top receivers, combining for nearly 800 yards and seven touchdowns.
"Nick Vigil is a great football player and a terrific kid," Peck said of the opposing team's senior star. "He competes hard and plays hard all the time.
"We've got to be prepared. Defensively, we game plan and definitely try to stop what the other team does best. And we know when their different quarterbacks come into the game that we'll be playing two different styles of football."
Much like Peck, Bosgieter sized up the key to the game for the Silver Wolves, who own a near-perfect 13-1 record in state playoff appearances on their home field in Plain City.
"We've got to take care of the football, No. 1, and we've got to block and we've got to tackle. I think it'll come down to who takes care of the ball," he said. "We've got to get a lot of hats to the football on defense, something we've been pretty good at this season. I expect this to be a very good football game."
The two teams have faced one common opponent this season, with similar results. Bingham beat Layton 47-13 back on Sept. 9 during preseason play, and Fremont hammered the Lancers 40-0 in the two teams' Region 1 finale on Oct. 14.
Justin Pingree, Jake Wadsworth and Luke Hollingsworth lead the way for a stingy Fremont defense that has allowed little more than 10 points per game this season.
Fremont has given up a total of just 39 points in its last six games combined — less than seven points per game. Bingham, meanwhile, has piled up 316 points in its last eight outings — all but one of them wins — for an average of nearly 40 ppg.
So there you have it — one team's allowed only 39 points in its previous six games, the other's scoring more than 39 points per game the last eight times it's taken the field.
Something's definitely gotta give on Friday.
Bingham statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 35.4 ppg
Scoring defense: 15.2 ppg
Passing leader: Brady Lail (110-195, 56.4 percent, 1,546 yards, 19 TDs, 7 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Daniel Palepoi (161 carries, 1,110 yards, 11 TDs), Tonga Manu (75 carries, 443 yards, 5 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Kalan Cantwell (32 receptions, 512 yards, 7 TDs), Hayden Weichers (29 receptions, 617 yards, 9 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Jared Afalava (68 tackles), Drake Miller (64 total tackles)
Sacks leaders: KC Tooele (4 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Koa Wilson, Jared Afalava (3 interceptions)
Fremont statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 28.9 ppg81 comments on this story
Scoring defense: 10.2 ppg
Passing leader: Cooper Kelley (97-182, 53.3%, 1,301 yards, 10 TDs, 6 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Nick Vigil (152 carries, 802 yards, 13 TDs), Jordan Preator (84 carries, 629 yards, 5 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Brock Smith (29 carries, 494 yards, 4 TDs), Rowdy Stucki (28 carries, 291 yards, 3 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Justin Pingree (81 total tackles), Jake Wadsworth, Luke Hollingsworth (66 total tackles)
Sacks leaders: Josh Talbot (4.5 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Jordan Preator, Carson Child (3 interceptions)