SOUTH JORDAN — Some uncharacteristic play by Bingham helped fuel a furious American Fork comeback effort, but it was another uncharacteristic Bingham play-call that ultimately decided the game. The result was a thrilling 28-24 win for the Miners on Friday in a game that soon won't be forgotten by anyone involved, least of all Bingham senior fullback Briasen Harward.
With time winding down, and Bingham trailing 24-21, Miner quarterback Peyton Jones found Harward sneaking out of the backfield on a perfectly-executed misdirection play for an 11-yard touchdown with just 13.6 seconds left on the clock. The play had every Bingham player motioning one way, carrying the American Fork defense with them, save Harward, who found himself wide open for Jones to find clear on the other side of the field.
"That's a dream come true for me," Harward said. "That's my first touchdown of the year and it's great that it happened on senior night because I'm a senior and it's the game-winning touchdown. My emotions are just crazy. It's hard to explain."
Although the play-call sent in was from Bingham coach John Lambourne, the true credit for the design goes to Bingham assistant coach Russ Morgan, who made the suggestion. It was only the second time the Miners had run the play all year, and although a misdirection play goes against most everything Bingham typically does offensively, Lambourne was quick to sign off on Morgan's suggestion.
"I had another thought, but then I thought, yeah, we kind of need to gamble and see what happens," Lambourne said. "Peyton Jones, after having some disastrous plays, came back like a man and made that play."
Jones threw a critical interception that led to an American Fork touchdown, giving the Cavemen a 24-21 lead with 8:26 remaining. But his stellar play on the touchdown pass, along with two touchdown runs of one and 46 yards more than made up for any mishaps.
The game appeared to be going the way many Bingham games go, with the Miners getting out to a 21-10 lead on an Evona Hall run from three yards out as the third quarter wound down.
But the Cavemen wouldn't let up and staged a furious comeback that started out with quarterback Boone Abbott hitting McKay Nelson for a 7-yard touchdown pass. Following an interception made by Stockton Bramwell, Abbott again went to work quickly, this time finding Devin Downing streaking down the sideline to make a diving 26-yard touchdown grab to give American Fork a 24-21 lead with just over eight minutes left.
Things continued to go American Fork's way until a critical possession failed to burn any time off the clock, with just over two minutes remaining, more than enough time for Bingham to go to work.
Most of Bingham's final touchdown drive was done on the ground, although Jones did find Avi Parikh for a critical long pass to set up the Miners within field goal range.15 comments on this story
American Fork didn't just go away after Bingham's final touchdown and came just short of staging its own remarkable comeback as Abbott hit a streaking Benson Brown for a 32-yard pass to set up one final play from Bingham's 16-yard line and with 1.5 seconds left. But a pass intended for American Fork receiver Chase Roberts was defended effectively in the end zone to give Bingham the big win.
"This is what you live for and we'll remember this one forever," Lambourne said. "But we have a lot of football left and credit to American Fork. That's a good football team."
With the win, Bingham moves into a three-way tie on top of Region 4 with American Fork and with Lone Peak in the final standings.