Highland • Braden Miles had waited to be a hero, more patiently than anyone ever could’ve asked of him.
Waited through his senior year, behind two quarterbacks who moved into his school district. Waited through the first half of a sloppy game that his team was losing to Bingham.
Finally Lone Peak turned to him in the third quarter to fill in for an ill and injured Baron Gajkowski. And Miles did something else no one might have expected: He led the Knights to a stunning 21-17 comeback win on their home field Thursday night.
“I’ve been preparing for this my whole life — I’ve been preparing for this moment,” he said. “It feels good to be here finally.”
Lone Peak (5-2) was able to take a victory from the Miners (5-2) that they should be thankful for after giving up four turnovers in the first three quarters. But an equally opportunistic Knights defense gave the offense more and more chances, and Miles finally took advantage.
Miles went 14 of 16 over the final 16 minutes of the game, throwing for 167 yards and leading both of Lone Peak’s drives for touchdowns. A 45-yard hurl downfield for a score to Talon Shumway, his second of the day, brought the game within realistic distance. Then receiver Zach Mortensen, who was celebrating his birthday, wrapped his hands around a tipped pass to give the Knights the go-ahead score with 50 seconds left.
“It means everything,” Lone Peak coach Tony McGeary said about his senior’s fill-in performance. “We rested on his shoulders.”
Of course, Lone Peak also rested on the shoulders of its defense, which all but pounded the Bingham offense into submission after giving up 10 points early. Defensive back Matt Criddle came up with an interception and fumble recovery in the first half, and linebacker Josh Buck also had an early pick.
Jantzen Bowles and Tonga Manu helped the Miners moved downfield, but aside from Nate Naylor’s first-quarter score, the Miners’ offense couldn’t put points on the board. The closest Bingham got in the second half was the 16-yard line, and a last-minute drive boosted by two big catches by Dalton Schultz fell short.
“Those turnovers helped us out a ton,” Criddle said. “I have no clue why there were so many. Our defense was fired up for this game.”
Bingham’s defense also was primed: The Miners picked off starter Gajkowski four times in the game. The first three were by Mitch Whitney, who was a scourge on the left side of the secondary.
Drake Miller got the fourth interception and took it 31 yards for a touchdown to give Bingham a 17-7 lead. Gajkowski was injured on the play, which led to the switch.
Storylines Backup QB rallies Knights
R Senior Braden Miles went 14 of 16 for 167 yards and two TDs over the final 16 minutes.