We've had some things happen. We started the year with some injuries and suspensions and right now everybody is back and I feel like each week they get a little bit closer and they've started believing. —Bingham coach Dave Peck
SOUTH JORDAN — Bingham coach Dave Peck had a pretty good feeling about his team heading into the playoffs.
Sure the Miners dropped a surprising game to Lone Peak a few weeks ago, but Peck said the response from his team in the weeks since had been sensational, and it showed on Friday.
Against a talented and dangerous Cottonwood team in the opener of the 5A playoffs, Bingham scored on the second play of the game and never looked back on its way to a dominating 52-13 victory.
"We've had some things happen. We started the year with some injuries and suspensions and right now everybody is back and I feel like each week they get a little bit closer and they've started believing," said Peck.
Bingham's Tonga Manu set the tone on the first play from scrimmage with a 75-yard burst down the sideline to Cottonwood's 5 yard line. Scott Nichols punched it in one play later for the early 7-0 lead.
"When you can come out and score like that, it definitely sets the tone," said Peck.
Bingham's offense only ran six plays in the first quarter, but thanks to a Hayden Weichers 51-yard TD reception and a Nichols' 56-yard run, it led comfortably 21-0.
Cottonwood finally got on the board early in the second quarter when Alabama-bound QB Cooper Bateman capped a 12-play drive with an 8-yard TD run to whittle Bingham's lead to 21-7.
The Colts had a chance to cut into the lead further after forcing Bingham into a turnover on downs, but its drive midway through the second quarter stalled and Manu tacked on a rushing TD just before halftime to increase the lead to 28-7.
Cottonwood's only touchdown the rest of the game came on a crazy, deflected fourth down pass that resulted in a 74-yard TD connection between Bateman and Inoke Lotulelei. Outside of that, Bingham's defense stymied the Colts all night.
"I feel like this is one of the best defenses we've had here. We haven't given up more than 21 points in a game this year," said Peck.
Offensively, Nichols finished the game with 110 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries, while Manu went over a hundred yards as well with two touchdowns.
"We had really good blocking and just ran hard," said Nichols. "It feels great. We just have to go hard this week and look forward to next week."
Bingham advances to face Fremont in the 5A quarterfinals next Friday. It's the third straight playoff meeting between the teams. Bingham beat Fremont for the 2010 state title, while Fremont eliminated Bingham in the quarterfinals last year.
"Fremont is the team that knocked us out last year at their place, and we're looking forward to playing them at our place this time," said Peck.