Bingham is obviously as tough as they come. They’re so good with what they do and their record speaks for itself. We’ll definitely have to play our best game to beat them and the players know that. —Riverton coach Mike Miller
Thursday’s semifinal matchup between Bingham and Riverton features two teams that could well be considered old-school in their approach.
Bingham has relied on a ball-control offense and hard-nosed defense en route to four state championships in the last eight years.
Riverton runs the old wing-T offense and executes it as well as any team you’ll find, according to Bingham coach Dave Peck.
“You won’t find a team that uses all the ball fakes and everything involved with the wing-T better than Riverton,” he said. “They make it very hard to find the ball and use speed and deception very well. It’s a challenging system and something we’ll have to be ready for.”
The Silverwolves secured second place in Region 4 staying true to coach Mike Miller’s battle-tested system. They’re led by running back Cameron Christensen and his 1,336 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, along with quarterback Korbyn Baucom, who has thrown for 1,137 yards and eight touchdowns.
“Riverton is 10-1 for a reason,” Peck said. “It’s a team that runs at you, keeps you guessing who is running at you, and then will beat you with play-action.”
True to form, Riverton won’t change its approach, regardless of taking on the overwhelming 5A favorite on the big stage provided by Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“We’re grounded in our approach and that is going to help us,” said Miller. “We’re treating this as just any other week. Sure, it’s a big game against a very tough opponent, but you just have to do what you do. Just do what you’re successful at and keep the same approach we’ve used to get us here.”
Bingham, meanwhile is very much used to the big stage having tripped to Rice-Eccles seven times in the last eight years.
“With all the times we’ve played there in the playoffs along with taking on Alta there over the years, I think it’s safe to say no other football team has played there as much as we have except for Utah,” Peck said. “That helps us and probably could give us a slight edge.”
Also giving the Miners an edge is what most consider the state’s best defense and standout playmakers such as dual-threat quarterback Kyle Gearig, who has thrown for 25 touchdowns and rushed for five more on the season. All the parts have contributed to a perfect 11-0 record in-state and a No. 1 ranking in-state since the preseason.
“Bingham is obviously as tough as they come,” Miller said. “They’re so good with what they do and their record speaks for itself. We’ll definitely have to play our best game to beat them and the players know that. They know what they’re up against, but they’re confident and excited for the opportunity.”
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