SALT LAKE CITY — It took just 10 minutes and 54 seconds to decide the 5A state semifinal game between Bingham and Lone Peak Friday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Bingham worked quickly and efficiently in its dismantling 48-13 win over an outmatched Lone Peak squad. Before the end of the first quarter, the Miners were already up three scores.
“Lone Peak has beaten us two years in a row and they’ve got a lot of great athletes — competitive kids,” Bingham coach Dave Peck said. “Did I expect us to play well? We had a great week and I felt like our kids were going to play a great game, but nobody would have expected that.”
The No. 1 Miners raced down the field after forcing Lone Peak into a three-and-out scenario to open the game. Bingham's nine-play drive ended with an 8-yard TD run by Scott Nichols. Less than three minutes later Nichols again crossed the plane following a Knights’ botched snap.
Shortly thereafter, Bingham quarterback Kyle Gearig scored his first of three touchdowns after mowing down a defender at the pylon. Bingham had a 21-0 lead and Lone Peak had minus-10 yards of total offense in the first quarter.
“I think that was one of the best games that I’ve ever coached as far as our kids playing with an edge,” Peck said. “I challenged them to see how good we can be. The saying on our shirt says, ‘Good is not good enough.’ We won a couple state championships in a row and the last two years we’ve come up short. It started in offseason, ‘Are you guys tired of just being good? Why don’t we dare to be great?’”
Gearig finished 12 of 18 for 174 passing yards with one touchdown and one pick while adding 100 rushing yards on only six carries, including a 79-yard touchdown run to give the Miners a 35-6 lead.
“I’m tellin’ you, I’ve been saying it the whole year: This is his first year he’s really played high school quarterback,” Peck said of Gearig. “Phenomenal athlete and he gets it. He understands the game. Shoot, by next year I think you’re going to see a bunch of colleges wanting that kid.”
The Miners dominated in virtually every statistical category: first downs (23-12), rushing yards (290-69), passing yards (197-143), total offense (487-212) and total plays (65-45).
Peck was especially satisfied with the lopsided possession time (32:29-15:31), which kept Lone Peak’s explosive quarterback, Baron Gajkowski, on the sideline.
“No doubt our No. 1 priority was to control Baron,” explained Peck. “He’s a heck of a player and we knew that if we could just contain him a little bit that our chances would go way up. We felt our best defense would be our offense. If our offense could score some points that was going to help.”
With the win Bingham advances to play Brighton in the 5A championship game next Friday at 2:30 p.m.
“We got one more shot to find out how great we can really be and if this is one of the all-time best teams,” Peck said. “We know we’re going to have our work cut out. Brighton will have more D-1 guys than us when we step on the field next week. We understand that, but our kids will show up and we’ll see what happens.”
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