We feel that we run the type of program, and the expectations — flat out — if we don’t win it it’s going to be a disappointment. That’s not going to change this year. —Dave Peck, Bingham High School head coach
SOUTH JORDAN — Bingham High is fully aware of what a drought feels like. It went 60 years between championships before the 2006 team captured the elusive trophy. Now, two years removed since their last title run, the Miners are thirsty.
“We feel that we run the type of program, and the expectations — flat out — if we don’t win it it’s going to be a disappointment,” Bingham coach Dave Peck said. “That’s not going to change this year. We feel like we’ve got good kids, and we don’t make any excuses when we get beat. At the end of the day, on a year-round basis, we do it the right way, and our expectations are to be the last team standing. We will be disappointed again this year if we’re not.”
For the fourth consecutive preseason, the Miners claimed the top spot in the Deseret News Top 25, which is determined by coaches’ votes collected through questionnaires. Hype is accompanied by publicity, and Bingham has plenty of that.
Its first three games — Bonneville, Idaho (ESPNU), Herriman (KUTV) and Valor Christian, Colorado (Root Sports) — are all televised.
“I think right now in USA Today we’re ranked No. 41,” Peck said. “If we go 3-0 we’re going to be top 20 because of the type of teams we’re playing.”
In a recent practice the offense scored on three straight drives during team drills while primarily using three different quarterbacks. However, Peck said that junior Kyle Gearig will be calling the shots come Aug. 24.
“He’s probably the least experienced, but really cool-headed,” Peck said of Gearig. “We love how he’s coming along. “Nobody knows anything about this kid. He wasn’t even our sophomore starting quarterback. He’s a great athlete, and we believe at the end of the day he’s an All-State quarterback. We’ve got three other good quarterbacks — we’re deep at that position — but we have this gut feeling that Kyle is going to be something special.”
The Miners measure athletic ability through a series of drills referring to the “Bingham Agility” circuit. Peck explained that Gearig tested off the charts.
“In 29 years he’s the fastest kid I’ve ever had,” Peck said. “He’s got great natural ability. If he gets out in the open, nobody is going to catch him if he does scramble.
“But you know what? Until we actually play some games, that is going to be a question mark,” Peck continued. “To be honest, it could hurt us a little the first couple. If we end up being 3-0 at the end of the three games, then we’re in good shape because he’s going to continue to get better.”
Bingham Miners at a glance
Coach: Dave Peck’s success with Bingham is virtually unprecedented. In what will be his 14th year with the Miners he’s garnered a 128-35 record, and in 18 years of coaching he’s posted a 155-69 overall record. He is a graduate of Cyprus High and Southern Utah University.
(6 returning starters; multiple offense)
Bingham has six returning starters on the offensive side of the ball — five will be upfront. Peck and offensive line coach Keith Chatelain described the group as one of the best the program has had in recent years.
“We have five of our front six guys, if you count the tight end, back,” Peck said. “Four of them played every single game, and the fifth one started in at least half of the games. I would definitely say we expect that group to be coming along.”
Center Riley Culley, guards Noah Taeatafa and Aaron Amaama, who Peck said Chatelain referred to as “the best run-blocker” he has ever coached; and tight end Dalton Schultz started every game last season, whereas Austin Bunkall started several games. Right tackle Justin Nuffer completes the group, and he started every game at the JV level.
Schultz likely will end his career as the highest recruited player Peck has ever coached, and considering the frequency of next-level players the Bingham program produces, that’s astounding. Currently, Schultz is the top-rated tight end prospect in the nation.
“I don’t think anybody is going to be able to cover Dalton one-on-one,” Peck said. “He’s too big, and (has) too good of ball skills. If our quarterbacks get it to anywhere he can get his hands on it, he’s probably going to make the catch.”
Peck grinned and laughed when asked about the possibilities of the play-action pass considering the talent upfront and the threat of Scott Nichols in the backfield. Nichols spelled incumbent starter Tonga Manu last season, but emerged as the featured back during the playoffs.
“He really became our go-to guy towards the end of the season,” Peck said. “We knew he had a lot of talent, and we had a really good tailback that was a senior, so Scott had to earn his time, and he earned it by the end of the year. We think he has the chance to be a first-team All-State tailback, especially with the guys in front.”
On the outskirts, Landon Measom, who has rotated in the lineup for several years, and Colton Livingston, who Peck said has “performed well all summer; he’s been a big surprise,” will be the primarily targets in addition to Schultz.
(6 returning starters)
The defensive unit is lagging behind at the pace of the offense, but as Peck explained — a panic button isn’t necessary at this point.
“I think we’re going to be pretty good defensively, but right now the offense is moving the ball up and down the field,” Peck said. “We start to crowd the box on them to try and stop the run, and then they do play-action on us.
“We feel good about the guys we have. We’ve got some guys that can play, but right now we just can’t play against our own guys,” Peck continued. “Until you play some other team, it’s hard to say: is the offense doing that well or is the defense off a little bit? I would say the majority of the time we’re pretty darn good defensively around here. I’m hoping that the offense is just clicking. I guess we won’t know until we play somebody.”
Peck pegged Sky Manu, a three-year starting safety, “as good as there is in the state” and Daniel Langi, who started every game as sophomore last season. He also noted that Spencer Tauteoli and Mahonrai Toki have performed well on the defensive front.
Kade Cloward, who also started every game as a sophomore, headlines the defensive secondary while Nick Henninger at outside linebacker has gained Peck’s attention throughout the offseason.
Coaches' preseason Region 3 straw poll: First
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: First
Bottom line: Bingham is always going to be in the mix, but when the Miners are nearly impossible to beat is when the offensive line physically dictates the line of scrimmage. The Miners are loaded offensively, especially the five upfront. Obviously, a state championship is an approachable goal, and ironically winning the Region 3 title may be a more difficult task. Right now the defense and inexperience at the quarterback position are the major question marks moving forward.
Bingham coaching history
2000-current — Dave Peck (128-35)
1985-99 — Sonny Sudbury (80-74)
1979-84 — Jerry Fiat (23-37)
1969-78 — Roy Whitworth (42-50)
1967-68 — Steve Dangerfield (3-14)
1962-66 — Raynor Pearce (19-24)
1954-61 — Del Schick (33-27)
1928-53 — Bailey Santisteven (101-82)
1925-27 — Tommy McMullen (4-14)
1910 — Ira Masters (2-3)
Deseret News Mr. Football recipients
2009 — Tuni Kanuch, OL
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
2010 — Stephan Cantwell, QB
2006 — Jordan Pendleton, WR
Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years
2012 — Lowell Lotulelei, DL
2012 — Durrant Miles, DL
2012 — Drake Miller, LB
2011 — Daniel Palepoi, RB
2011 — Poasi Taukeiaho, OL
2010 — Harvey Langi, RB
2010 — Jordan Hicks, OL
2010 — Kesni Tausinga, OL
2010 — Moses Kaumatule, DL
2010 — Jared Afalava, LB
2010 — Manoa Pikula, LB
2010 — Logan Parker, DB
2010 — Kyle Duke, K
2009 — Harvey Langi, RB
2009 — Bradyn Heap, OL
2009 — Seni Fauonuku, DL
2009 — Braden Anderson, DB
2009 — Travis McRae, DB
2008 — Harvey Langi, RB
2008 — Mike Edmunds, WR
2008 — Tuni Kanuch, OL
2008 — L.T. Filiaga, LB
2008 — Remington Peck, LB
2007 — Sam Langi, RB
2007 — Austin Holt, TE
2007 — Derek Tuimauga, OL
2007 — Iona Pritchard, LB
2007 — Justin Peck, DB
2007 — Justin Sorensen, K
2006 — Dusty Heap, QB
2006 — Doug Fiefia, RB
2006 — Austin Holt, TE
2006 — Derek Tuimauga, OL
2006 — Star Lotulelei, DL5 comments on this story
2006 — Quenton Petersen, LB
2006 — Brock Ward, LB
2006 — Justin Sorensen, K
2005 — Stetson Peck, QB
2005 — Jonathan Cuff RB
2005 — Justin Degiulio, OL
2005 — A.J. VanValkenburg, LB
2005 — Zach Cook, DB
2004 — Ryan Roberts, DL
2003 — Jordan Park, DL
2003 — Blake Taylor, DL
2003 — Tyler Peck, DB
To view second team and honorable mention All-Staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.