SANDY — Daniel Blanchard has never scored a bigger goal.
In his very first varsity start, the Bingham freshman completed his team's come-from-behind victory at Alta in the first round of the 5A state soccer tournament with a powerful goal less than two minutes into overtime.
“Coming in, I just kinda had a gut feeling that he was going to be a guy who was going to make an impact,” Bingham coach Matt Kennaley said after the Miners' 3-2 upset Tuesday afternoon. “He did what he needed to do right when he needed to.”
The golden goal was a poetic cap on the drama that filled the previous 81 minutes of play. After steller play — but numerous missed opportunities — by both sides, the Hawks got on the board first with less than four minutes remaining in the first half.
Junior Marshall Miller found Alex Tempest, who sent the ball past a charging Bingham goalkeeper Mark Stanley. Just two minutes later, Bingham senior Trenton Petersen evened the score with his fourth goal of the season.
Connor Sheffield gave Alta back the lead, 2-1, with a header on a corner kick just moments into the second half, and then the Hawks drew a penalty kick to seemingly put the match out of reach — until Stanley blocked the attempt.
“You look at that PK save, it was a great save,” Kennaley said. “I look at the overall game and you never know. That was a huge save.”
The Miners rallied again and ultimately sent the game into overtime with a goal by sophomore Gabe Altheman in the 67th minute.
“He’s a lightning bolt,” Kennaley said of Altheman, who drove left and shot back across the field to the right corner of the net.
“You just can never really contain what he’s going to give to you on the field,” the coach continued. “It’s a curse and a blessing some days. You just hope that today is the day he’s going to come out and make people struggle, and today he did a great job doing that.”
That sequence opened the door for Blanchard’s heroics.
“You can never draw up games like that in the first round of state,” Kennaley said. “It’s just too unpredictable. Teams are too fired up. You just kinda hope the guys are ready for the call when their name’s called.”
The upset makes this the second-consecutive season the Hawks have exited the tournament in the first round. A year ago, they lost to the eventual champions, Davis, on the road.
Bingham, the third place team from Region 4, suffered a loss at Alta in the quarterfinals two seasons ago. This year's players who were a part of that loss used the memory as motivation against the second-ranked Hawks.
“We lost here when we really thought we had a strong team,” Kennaley recalled. “That really emboldened us and we really wanted to come out and make a point.”
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: email@example.com
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