SOUTH JORDAN — For the first time since Riverton opened its doors in 1999, it didn’t play Bingham in the regular season, thanks to realignment. On Friday, the two will check off another never-have.
The Miners host the Silverwolves at 5 p.m. in the 5A quarterfinals in the first-ever postseason meeting. Bingham is 42-2 on its home turf since 2007, including 15 straight after losing to a Chase Hansen-led Lone Peak squad in 2011.
“It changes everything because the loser isn’t playing anymore,” Bingham coach Dave Peck said. “We’ve never played them being in that situation. We’ve played them and had region title on the line two or three times, but we’ve never played them in a situation of loser goes home. That alone makes it a whole lot different.”
The proximity of the schools has created a rivalry atmosphere despite the relative lack of competition. Bingham has dominated the series between the two with an all-time 12-2 record. The Miners are currently riding a nine-game win streak with an average margin of defeat of 40-12.
“Overdog or underdog, it’s just another opponent for us. We prepared this week the same way,” Riverton coach Mike Miller said. “This is a competitive group; a real fun group to coach. I’m sure the players are talking amongst themselves. I don’t live in the area; obviously I’d like to win because of everything that’s at stake. I’d like to beat them, too.”
For Peck, Riverton-week is always unsettling with his personal history and affiliations.
“I know that for our kids, and for me in particular — we lived in Riverton for 14 years, so I know a lot of people in the community,” Peck said. “My O-coordinator, John Lambourne, lives about two blocks from the high school and his kids go to Riverton. So, whenever we play Riverton I’m always uptight playing that game. Our kids know it, too, and we always seem to play with an edge when we play Riverton.”
If not for six points, it could be a matchup of two undefeated teams. The ‘Wolves (8-2) employ a deceptive, Wing-T offense, and it’s imperative that opposing defenses play disciplined, assignment-football. This might be the deepest backfield Riverton has had in years after running for 4,232 yards and 46 touchdowns with 26 different players recording at least one carry.
“We’ve played against them for all these years and they’re usually going to get one or two big plays on us. It happens every year. They’re going to pop somebody through and it’s just so darn quick that you lose them. The next thing you know they’re already by you,” Peck explained after saying preparing for the Wing-T keeps him up at night. “Defensively we make it tough on them where they have to really work for what they get. We’re not going to panic and pick up one or two touchdowns on us. We know they’re very capable of doing that.”
Peck highlighted his five linebackers that rotate freely throughout the game. Thus far, Nick Heninger, Daniel Langi, Vaka Vehikite, Skyler Olsen and Saia Saltiban have combined for 285 tackles, 13 sacks and five interceptions. If Riverton expects to experience the same success on the ground, its offensive line has to body up the second layer.
“I’m assuming they’re going to try and load up the box and try to put as many people as they can up there to stop the run. Hopefully, if they’re doing that, our play-action pass game is there,” Miller said. “We feel like we’re effective either way, and usually when people have brought people up we’ve thrown the ball over the top of them. I’d imagine that’s what they’ll do. They know what do and they keep doing it. They don’t change up a whole lot or out-scheme. That’s just not their way.”
Riverton statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 39.8 ppg (3rd in 5A)
Scoring defense: 17.3 ppg (5th in 5A)
Passing leader: Connor Henderson (25-82, 30.5%, 484 yards, 4 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Cameron Christensen (129 carries, 890 yards, 9 TDs), Paden Cayias (119 carries, 813 yards, 10 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Cameron Christensen (11 catches, 207 yards, 2 TDs), Cayden Jones (4 catches, 132 yards, 1 TD)
Tackles leaders: Preston Crapo (94 tackles), Ethan Cutler (83 tackles)
Sack leaders: Tevita Loamanu (5 sacks), Preston Crapo (4 INTs)
Interception leaders: Keaton Kimball (5 INTs), Cameron Christensen, Trent Denos (4 INTs)
Bingham statistical breakdown
(Note: Does not including first-round stats)
Scoring offense: 40.6 ppg (2nd in 5A)
Scoring defense: 14.3 ppg (3rd in 5A)
Passing leader: Kyle Gearig (90-173, 52.0%, 1,258 yards, 21 TDs)
Rushing leaders: Scott Nichols (162 carries, 1,212 yards, 13 TDs), Kyle Gearig (81 carries, 563 yards, 7 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Landen Measom (23 catches, 392 yards, 6 TDs), Dalton Schultz (24 catches, 383 yards, 8 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Daniel Langi (77 tackles), Sky Manu (75 tackles)
Sack leaders: Spencer Tauteoli (7 INTs), Mahonrai Toki (7 INTs)
Interception leaders: Sky Manu (8 INTs)
Felt’s Facts for Riverton High School
All-time record: 75-84 (15 years)
Region championships: 1 (2013 co)
Playoff appearances: 11
All-time playoff record: 2-10 (including 2013)
State championships: 0
State championship record:0-0
Felt’s Factoid(s): Riverton became just the seventh — and latest — school to rush for more than 4,000 yards during a season when the Silverwolves ran for 4,456 in 2010.
Felt’s Facts for Bingham High School
All-time record: 446-360-30 (90 years)
Region championships: 21 (1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1945, 1946, 1960, 1963, 1991 co, 1996 co, 1999 co, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 co, 2013)
Playoff appearances: 41
All-time playoff record: 45-33 (including 2013)
State championships: 7 (1939, 1941, 1945, 1946, 2006, 2009, 2010)
State championship record: 7-2
Felt’s Factoid(s): Bingham is one of just five teams in state history to have a 14-0 record (2006). The 2009 and 2010 Miners totaled 1,192 points in 27 contests — the most points scored by any school over two consecutive seasons.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @phibbs_
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company