That's a good team — a very good football team. It was tough to finally put them away and they fought us the whole way. —Bingham coach John Lambourne
AMERICAN FORK — Those who follow Bingham football have seen it time and again: The Miners set a team up in the first half and bowl it over with superior size and strength in the second, and eventually win going away.
Friday's game versus American Fork seemed on pace to follow suit, with Bingham holding a commanding 27-0 lead at half before the Cavemen decided to flip the script a bit. Two touchdowns scored in the second half brought American Fork to within 27-14 midway through the third quarter made things far more interesting than your typical Bingham football game.
"That's a good team — a very good football team," said Bingham coach John Lambourne. "It was tough to finally put them away and they fought us the whole way. That's a well-coached team and it didn't surprise me how they fought us the whole way."
Bingham ultimately won the game going away 48-21, but found a need to regain some composure and find renewed fight late.
A lot of that fight came from running back Amoni Kaili, who ripped off a 76-yard touchdown run immediately after the Cavemen cut the score to 27-14.
"I challenged Amoni before the game to step up and have a big game, and boy, did he respond to that challenge," Lambourne said. "That was a great run and something we really needed. So I was very happy to see it."
Fittingly it was Kaili who topped off the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run with just under two minutes remaining.
Along with Kaili's two scores were a couple of touchdown runs from Braedon Wissler and some spectacular catches by receiver Brayden Cosper. When the Miners needed a big gain, Cosper would more than often be the one to make it, with his superior size and ball skills. The senior BYU commitment had one touchdown catch of 12 yards, but his impact was made throughout.
"He made some tremendous catches today," Lambourne said. "We got lucky a couple of times when they had us defended and he was able to make a play. So yeah, he's something. He's terrific."
On the other side it was fellow BYU commitment Chase Roberts making some big plays for the Cavemen. Roberts accounted for two of AF's touchdowns on receptions from 15 and 21 yards out, respectively.
The game's biggest defensive play of the night came late in the fourth quarter, when Bingham defensive back Tanner Merrill effectively defended a pass and batted the ball in the air to be received by teammate Collin Boelter, to effectively end any hopes American Fork had to stage a comeback.
"We had some adversity tonight and did some dumb things you don't like to see as a coach," Lambourne said. "But I'm very proud of how we were able to fight through all those things and finish out strong against a very good team. We can take some good things away from this one along with some things we'll need to fix."
With the win, Bingham finishes out the regular season with a 9-0 record and 4-0 in Region 4 play. American Fork finishes out with a 5-4 mark and 2-2 record in Region 4, with the loss. Both teams will move on to the 6A state playoffs.