We're continually striving to get better every week and we'll certainly need to continue to get better to get by. But this team has stuck together and we've stuck to the plan. —Mike Knight
Syracuse (7-3) at Bingham (10-0)
6A state tournament quarterfinals
Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Bingham by 32
All-time series: Series tied 1-1
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between Syracuse’s Mike Knight and Bingham’s John Lambourne
Last meeting: Nov. 8, 2012 – Syracuse 21-16 (5A semifinal)
You usually have to beat Bingham in order to reach the ultimate goal, so it may as well be in the quarterfinal round of the 6A playoffs. That's the approach taken by Syracuse football coach Mike Knight as his team prepares for its daunting task Friday.
The Miners come in as defending state champions, a distinction it enjoys often, while the Titans are no stranger to making deep runs in the playoffs themselves.
"We know what Bingham is and what they've done. There's no surprises there," Knight said. "It's a very, very good football team that has done very, very impressive things in recent years. But we know who we are, and we're going to treat it the same way we've treated all of our games. We're going to focus on us and focus on doing the things we do best."
Such an approach has paid off well for the Titans, not just this season, but in past seasons in which the team made deep runs in the playoffs. This season they enter fresh off a three-game winning streak and a solid 28-7 win over West Jordan in the first round of the playoffs.
"We're continually striving to get better every week and we'll certainly need to continue to get better to get by Bingham," Knight said. "But this team has stuck together and we've stuck to the plan. We had a slow start to the season, lost some players early, but we've stuck with it and trusted what we do. Sure, we've had to change some things, but overall the process has worked and we've gotten some of the players we lost back recently."
Bingham enters Friday's quarterfinal game without a loss and on the heels of demolishing Cyprus 65-7 in the first round of the playoffs.
"They have really, really good team and they're very physical. Bingham is always one of the most physical teams you'll see and this year they may be even more so," Knight observed. "We've seen them in past years, so we're used to what they usually have, but I truly believe they're even faster and physical this year, based on what I've seen on film. So yeah, it's going to be a huge challenge."
But just beating Bingham in the quarterfinal round isn't the end-all of what Syracuse wants to accomplish this season, according to Knight.
"To be honest, beating Bingham gives us a shot to play another week," Knight said. "Kids aren't dumb. They know what Bingham is — it's the best team in this state, and yeah, it gives us added motivation. But the whole point of this is to win a championship and getting by any team, no matter who they are. It gives you another game and a better chance."
Syracuse statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 24.4 ppg (12th in 6A)
Scoring defense: 15.1 ppg (3rd in 6A)
Passing leader: Ty Metcalfe (93-160, 58.1%, 1,475 yards, 16 TDs, 5 INTs)
Tackles leaders: Tucker Bartels (100 tackles), Austin Kirkman (86 tackles)
Interception leaders: Ty Burke (5 INTs), Sawyer Larson (4 INTs)
Bingham statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 42.2 ppg (1st in 6A)
Scoring defense: 10.3 ppg (1st in 6A)
Passing leader: Ryan Wood (76-124, 61.3%, 1,375 yards, 14 TDs, 1 INT)
Note: Individual stats do not include 6A first-round game
Felts Facts for Syracuse High School
Head Coach: 2017-current — Mike Knight (7-3)
All-time record: 78-42 (11 years)
Region championships: 2 (2012, 2016 co)
Playoff appearances: 10
Current playoff appearance streak: 9 (2008-2017)
All-time playoff record: 10-9
State championships: 0
State championship record: 0-1
Felt’s Facts for Bingham High School
Head Coach: 2015-current — John Lambourne (35-2)
All-time record: 497-363-30 (94 years)
Region championships: 25 (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, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 45
Current playoff appearance streak: 29 (1989-2017)
All-time playoff record: 59-34
State championships: 10 (1939, 1941, 1945, 1946, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2016)
State championship record: 10-2