You go with what’s there and you put some responsibility on the shoulders of the kids instead of the coaches, and you let them shoulder that responsibility and come through, and that’s what I thought they did. —Bingham head coach John Lambourne
SALT LAKE CITY — Bingham’s running game, led by Braedon Wissler and Amoni Kaili, helped the nationally-ranked Miners win their second straight state championship, this time in the inaugural 6A classification, as they defeated nationally-ranked East 27-14 Friday afternoon at cold, wet Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Bingham started slowly on offense but picked up steam as the game went along, thanks in part to its rushing attack. The Miners carried the ball for just 14 total yards in the first half, but finished with 82 rushing yards. All three offensive touchdowns were on the ground, with Wissler scoring twice and quarterback Ryan Wood scoring on a 5-yard run.
“There’s some picking and choosing within the strategy and we just plug along and we plug here and we plug there until we start finding some things. Ultimately, you’ve got to be able to do it up front, and when our guys were able to that we were able to get some things put together,” Bingham High head coach John Lambourne said. “You go with what’s there and you put some responsibility on the shoulders of the kids instead of the coaches, and you let them shoulder that responsibility and come through, and that’s what I thought they did.”
Wissler ran nine times for 14 yards and added two first-half touchdowns before twisting his ankle. His biggest play was on a kickoff return with 3:53 left in the first quarter.
“We knew it was going to be a hard game and we were going to have to grind, and we knew it was going to be a hard, physical game,” Wissler said.
After the first East touchdown of the game, Wissler returned the ensuing kickoff 74 yards and then ran it in from eight yards out for the Miners’ first touchdown of the game.
“I just saw some blockers, a big ol’ hole and just took it,” Wissler said.
“The turnaround play was his kickoff return that got us back down here and we got a score. Without that, a lot of things could have gone a different direction,” Lambourne said.
Wissler proved to be important once again late in the second quarter, scoring again to give Bingham a boost going into halftime.
“It always is, it’s somewhat reminiscent of our situation last year against Lone Peak, we were able to take the lead going into halftime. It gives you a little bit of a boost, especially since they (East) were going to get the kickoff to start the second half,” Lambourne said.
Wissler was injured in the early moments of the second half and didn’t return.
“That’s a tough kid, if he could have gone, he’d have gone,” Lambourne said.
Kaili became the go-to running back in the second half, replacing the injured Wissler. Kaili finished with 16 carries for 63 yards, and was the focal point of the Bingham offense in the second half, with quarterback Ryan Wood only passed five times throughout the contest.
“Amoni was the man, that’s all I have to say about that. He’s stepped up all year when we needed him, but that was the biggest step-up on the biggest stage. Everybody involved with Bingham High School ought to be really proud of that kid,” Lambourne said as he received celebratory leis from some moms of Bingham's players.