WEST VALLEY CITY A physical Hunter High team held the ball well and held its own against No. 2 Bingham in the first half. But the visiting Miners made quick work on most of their possessions and ran away with a 30-7 victory in Class 5A Region 3 football Friday night.
The Bingham defense, led by linebacker LT Filiaga, stuffed Wolverine rushers early, and a short punt gave the Miners the ball at the Hunter 35-yard line. Less than two minutes later, Bingham quarterback Logan Cantwell found Tyler Conrad open in the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown.
That was the story of the night as all of Bingham's scoring drives lasted less than four minutes en route to its fourth straight win. Cantwell was efficient with 6-of-10 passing for 138 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The Wolverines came back with the ferocity of their mascot. With leading rusher Muka Atiga injured, Matt Latu, Mone Maungaloa and AJ Tuineau led a ground game committee on a 15-play, 80-yard, 9-minute scoring drive. Tuineau finished the march with a 13-yard touchdown scramble to tie the game.
"All the guys stepped it up on behalf of the guys that were injured," said Wolverine coach Wes Wilcken.
The Hunter defense then showed it was ready to play. After a couple of long Bingham runs, the Wolverines tightened and stalled the Miner drive when Juan Donis sacked Cantwell at the Hunter 44. BYU-bound Bingham kicker Justin Sorensen was just wide left on a 61-yard field goal attempt.
On the next series, Hunter lived and died by big penalties. A pass interference call on third and 7 gave the Wolverines the ball at the Bingham 47. On the next play, Tuineau fumbled, but Latu recovered deep in the backfield and scrambled to gain 4 yards. After the play, however, a Hunter player on the sidelines kicked a Bingham defender and drew a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Two plays later, the Wolverines were forced to punt.
Bingham went back to work with 2:22 left in the half. About a minute later, Cantwell hit a wide-open T.J. Ford over the middle for a 33-yard score and gave the Miners a 14-7 halftime lead they would not relinquish.
Ford again found his way to the end zone two minutes into the second half, turning a 5-yard slant pass into a 45-yard footrace to paydirt for some insurance points. The senior speedster finished with three catches for 86 yards and two scores, while adding 57 rushing yards on 8 carries.
Bingham's Sam Langi, one of the state's top rushers, had 9 carries for 75 yards and capped the game's scoring with a 1-yard plunge in the fourth.
"(Ford) is just a playmaker," said Bingham coach Dave Peck. "We're just thrilled to have a 1-2 punch like (Langi and Ford)."
Bingham improved to 7-1 (4-0 Region 3) while Hunter dropped to 2-7 (2-2 Region 3).