The kids learned a ton from last year's kids. This is clearly a team that is reloading with its eyes on another state title run. —Bingham coach Dave Peck
Note: Bingham finished with a 14-0 overall record in 2013 and was first in Region 3 with a 5-0 record. Bingham defeated Brighton 38-13 in the 5A championship.
SOUTH JORDAN — Undefeated.
The Bingham football team accomplished a lot in 2013. And en route to a multitude of postseason accolades, the Miners averaged 41.1 points per game and gave up just 13.8 during challenging region and playoff runs.
Fast forward a year and the 2014 Bingham team is stepping into a brand-new season with a brand-new group while still maintaining those same high expectations.
"We might struggle a little bit offensively early while we get some things figured out," said coach Dave Peck, whose offense returns just two starters. The defense, on the other hand, returns six starters.
"But defensively, it's going to keep us in games against even a Bishop Gorman (Nevada) or Brighton or whoever," Peck said. "We should be right there (among the top teams in the state)."
Of the Miners' two returners on offensive, one of them is in a leadership role that should help ease the team's drastic transition, which includes replacing the entire offensive line.
"It's always nice to have that returning quarterback," Peck said of senior Kyle Gearig, who led the Miners to the 5A championship game last season before being sidelined with a concussion in the final play before halftime of that title match.
Prior to that injury, Gearig passed for 1,876 yards and 29 touchdowns along with another 648 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Those statistics were accumulated after initially winning the varsity spot against four other preseason contenders. This year, there is no question who Peck wants on the field.
"I think he's the best quarterback in the state coming back," Peck said. "I know there are some other great QBs in the state, but I think Kyle is the best of them all."
Protecting Gearig will be an entirely new cast, including at least two sophomore starters on the offensive line. Those underclassmen are Cole Clemens, who stands at 6 foot 5 and 310 pounds, and Tavian Myers, who is 6 foot 3 and 300 pounds.
"You don't see that happen around here very often, but they are potential D-I guys. They're really good," Peck said. "Offensively, I feel like we're going to be OK, but there are a lot of unknowns because we don't have any experience on the O-line."
To continue the youth movement, yet another sophomore will take the field on the defensive side, and he even brings game experience to the table. Peck said Langi Tuifua, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound defensive lineman, has already made an impact on the Bingham team. He runs a 4.8 40-yard dash and led the team in blocked kicks as a freshman with four.
"He is going to be a big-time D-I guy that everyone is going to want," Peck said. "He played quite a bit as a freshman. ... He is a special kid."
Tuifua will join a young defensive line, which Peck said will not include a senior. Instead, the defense will be anchored by returning senior linebacker Daniel Langi and senior defensive backs Kade Cloward, Dominieke Jones and Chase Messervy.
"Defensively, it all starts with Daniel Langi in the middle," Peck said of the player who had 103 tackles and six sacks for the Miners last year.
"The strength of the defense is in the secondary," the coach said. "Kade is just a kid that gets it. He's got great instincts. He gets us in and out of our coverages."
Cloward, Jones and Messervy combined for 157 tackles and seven interceptions a year ago.
"Bingham football, we've always been good defensively," Peck said. "Defense is a lot about effort and having great kids that buy into our game plan. After 30 years of doing this, we tell all our kids, 'We will put you in the right spots and then it is up to you to make the plays.'"
Regardless of the number of starters returning, after coming off of a perfect season, the third one in the last 10 years, gives a team high expectations in terms of what it wants to accomplish moving forward. Bingham is no different.
"The kids learned a ton from last year's kids," Peck said. "This is clearly a team that is reloading with its eyes on another state title run."
Bingham Miners at a glance
Coach: Dave Peck is entering his 15th season as the head coach at Bingham, where he has accumulated a record of 142-35. In 20 years as a head coach, Peck has earned an overall record of 169-69. He is a graduate of Cyprus High and Southern Utah University.
Offense (2 returning starters, Multiple-formation offense)
The greatest challenge in front of the Miners is replacing their entire offensive line. A couple of those who step in to those roles will be underclassmen, like Cole Clemens and Tavian Myers, who are both 6-foot, 300-pound sophomores.
The greatest strength on the offensive side is the return of senior quarterback Kyle Gearig, who was stellar for the Miners last year before suffering a concussion midway through the 5A state championship game. This season, he is back in stride and Peck is excited about what the QB will bring to the Miners' offense.
"We've got a great quarterback coming back," Peck said, "and believe he will emerge as the top QB in the state."
Bingham is also looking forward to the addition of running back Cameron Smith, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior who moved from Colorado last winter.
Defense (6 returning starters)
The defending state champions are much more comfortable with the defense that returned to practice this fall. Among the six returning starters are Daniel Langi, the senior linebacker who anchored the squad that allowed just 13.8 points per game during the Miners' 14-game win streak last season.
Soni Ofahengaue, a 6-foot, 270-pound junior, and Langi Tuifua, a 6-foot-3, 220-pound sophomore, will step into the defensive line and 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior Daniel Gasio will move to inside linebacker.
"(Ofahengaue) will be a major factor this season as he becomes a full-time starter," Peck said, adding, "defensively, I think we're going to be really good."
Coaches' preseason Region 3 straw poll: First
Deseret News Region 3 prediction: First
Bottom line: The Miners have a lot of work to do in catching almost an entire offensive group up to speed. However, over the past 10 very successful seasons, Bingham has set very high expectations for what it expects out of its players and its teams. Because of that, the defense is already ready to roll and the roster is deep with kids who know how to play and know how to step into a new role on offense with confidence. It may take the new O-line some time to catch its stride, but that time frame will be short. The Miners are still the team to beat.
Bingham coaching history
2000-current — Dave Peck (142-35)
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
2013 — Scott Nichols, RB
2010 — Stephan Cantwell, QB
2006 — Jordan Pendleton, WR
Deseret News First Team All-Staters the past 10 years
2013 — Dalton Schultz, TE
2013 — Aaron Amaama, OL
2013 — Mahonrai Toki, DL
2013 — Daniel Langi, LB
2013 — Nick Heninger, LB
2013 — Sky Manu, DB
2013 — Kade Cloward, DB
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, DL
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
To view second team and honorable mention All-Staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
Sarah Thomas earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Utah and is currently pursuing an MBA at Westminster College. She has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008.