High school football: Bingham's Scott Nichols puts on a show in front of Stanford coach David Shaw
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
SANDY — Stanford coach David Shaw stood on the Bingham sideline. The Cardinal's impending clash with Utah created an opportunity for the third-year coach to scout the No. 1-rated tight end in the nation, Dalton Schultz.
However, in Bingham’s 48-27 win over Jordan, the tailback that hasn't been on anyone's radar left spectators wondering exactly who Shaw should be recruiting Friday. Scott Nichols, an unmistakably powerful runner, finished with five total touchdowns and 363 all-purpose yards, most of which occurred after initial contact, to lead the top-ranked Miners past the defending 5A champion.
“I know there’s a lot of guys getting a lot of press and everything. Scott Nichols is, I think, the best tailback in the state,” Bingham coach Dave Peck said. “He’s the hardest working kid I’ve coached in 30 years. I’ll go on record and say that, and anybody that I’ve ever coached can call me up. This kid is unbelievable and you never hear him say a word. He leads by example.”
Nichols’ night began with a 90-yard kick return to pull Bingham even at 7-7 after Jordan quarterback Austin Kafentzis orchestrated a nine-play, 80-yard drive on the opening series.
“That was awesome,” Nichols said. “We definitely needed it ‘cause they went down and I just answered right back thanks to the kickoff return team.”
He’d later add three touchdown runs of 13, 1 and 53 yards and an additional score on a 19-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Gearig. He shook two would-be tacklers on a short out route to give Bingham a 41-21 lead with 6:02 remaining.
“It puts us on top, so that’s a good feeling,” Nichols said of the win, which gave Bingham sole possession of first place in Region 3. “Everyone is shooting for us now.”
Following the opening series, Bingham (8-0) tailored its defense in counterattack mode against the quick-hit Jordan (4-4) offense. Originally, the Miners brought a variety of blitzes without success. After that, though, they sagged off and forced Kafentzis, who didn't have the services of star receivers Mason Krueger and Kosta Sergakis, into working downfield. The Miners ultimately secured four interceptions to increase their season total to 18.
“We felt coming in that we could get to (Kafentzis) a little bit. We tried to be aggressive and play straight man-to-man,” Peck said. “Their O-line was a lot better than I anticipated. I thought their O-line was decent, but we could hardly get to him and it put our guys on an island.
“We had to adjust and play more bend but don’t break,” Peck continued. “We don’t like that style, but they took us out of what we normally try and do. At that point it was about managing the score and making it tough for them to go 80 yards.”
The Miners extended their winning streak to four straight over the ‘Diggers, and 9 out of the last 11 after a two-year hiatus interrupted the series.
“I’ve been saying it all year — I love this group of kids,” Peck said. “Our best players are our best leaders. When you get guys standing up in front of the team saying, ‘You guys keep up with me and we’re going to go win a state championship,’ and they back it up. That’s when it’s pretty fun being their coach.”
Bingham's Scott Nichols
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