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Note: Bingham finished with a 9-3 overall record and was second in Region 4 with a 4-1 record in 2011. It lost to Fremont, 27-20, in the 5A state quarterfinals.
SOUTH JORDAN — The bar for Bingham football has been set extraordinarily high, but that’s a very good thing, according to coach Dave Peck. The high bar is the result of a lot of wins and three 5A state championships since 2006.
After winning state titles in 2009 and 2010, falling short of the state championship in 2011 was viewed as a disappointment for the Miners. Sure, Bingham compiled an impressive 9-3 overall record and made it to the state quarterfinals last year, but while most teams would be satisfied with such accomplishments, those programs aren’t Bingham.
“It’s something we’ve worked hard to earn, so it’s a good thing that we’ve reached the point where we’re expected to win the state championship every year,” said Peck. “It’s the result of having a lot of great players pass through this program and all the hard work we’ve done here. It’s a tough standard to live up to, but it’s what we’ve earned here and we’re proud of it.”
Despite falling short of the ultimate goal of a state championship, Peck found a lot of positives stemming from last season.
“We graduated 15 players from the 2010 team that earned college scholarships, so that certainly wasn’t easy to rebuild from,” said Peck. “Our three losses came against the two teams that met in the 5A championship (Fremont and Lone Peak) and our other one to Orange Lutheran — that’s one of the top programs in Southern California. So considering everything we were up against last year I think we did very well.”
Last year also provided some hard lessons.
First and foremost was learning the importance of leadership. Having top talent, which Bingham always has, is just part of being a good football team.
“Our best players last season weren’t necessarily our best leaders and that has to change,” said Peck. “I’ve talked about this to our seniors and I think they’re responding and will not only work on being great players, but great leaders with the focus of doing everything for the team instead of focusing on their own stats and their own accomplishments.”
Offensive lineman Keegan Hicks is one of those seniors who will be looked at as a team leader. Hicks regards last season as a bit of a shock and a big wake-up call.
“We’re not used to losing here and I think a lot of us just thought we’d show up and win whatever game we played,” said Hicks. “I think we learned a lot about rededicating ourselves and knowing that we’re in it together and need to lift everyone up.”
Hicks is part of an offense that has been known to employ a smash-mouth approach that often overwhelms opponents. This year’s strengths may indicate a bit more airing out of the football, however.
“When you look at the offense you have to begin with our two returning receivers —Hayden Weichers and Kalan Cantwell — and our tight end — Dalton Schultz,” said Peck. “We feel good about all those guys and their abilities. We feel that group is second to none in the state, so yeah, we might be throwing it more this year. But we’ll see how that all works out.”
Senior Coleman Stout is expected to start at quarterback.
Dominating line play has defined the Bingham defense in years past and should be a strength this season. Defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei leads the way and will be joined by Spencer Tauteoli and Joe Kaufusi up front. Linebacker looks strong with Drake Miller and Durant returning.