There is no crown in the field of Rice-Eccles Stadium — the artificial turf is as flat as a Nebraska cornfield.
So it was just an illusion that every Bingham player was running downhill, no matter which direction he was headed Friday night.
The Miners were quicker to the ball, faster to the point of attack and much more frequent to the end zone as they overwhelmed Lone Peak 48-13 in a Class 5A semifinal victory.
“It had to do with our history with Lone Peak,” Bingham quarterback Kyle Gearig said. “We lost to them in the state championship two years ago. We came in with good motivation. ... We just came in ready to play.”
The Miners (13-0) reached the state final for the fourth time in six years and will meet Brighton (12-1) in an all-Region 3 championship at 2:30 p.m. Friday. Top-ranked Bingham won the regular-season meeting 38-27 on Oct. 4.
“We’ve got one more shot to see how great we can really be,” Bingham coach Dave Peck said, “and if this can be one of the all-time best teams. We’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Gearig rushed for three first-half touchdowns and running back Scott Nichols scored twice in the opening half as Bingham jumped ahead 35-6. The only suspense after the break was how soon into the third quarter the score would dictate a running clock, which happened less than five minutes in.
Everything Bingham could do, Lone Peak simply couldn’t.
Three bad snaps sent the Knights (8-5) and quarterback Baron Gajkowski moving in the wrong direction. An interception in the red zone stalled a rally early in the third quarter.
Gaining even 1 yard on a fourth-and-1 sneak proved too tall a task against a stiff Miner defense.
Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.
“I think that was one of the best game’s that I’ve ever coached as far as our kids playing with an edge,” Peck said. “Our No. 1 priority was to control Baron. We knew if we could just contain him a little bit, our chances would go way up.
“Bottom line is in all phases of the game, we played really well.”
Gearig’s third score just before halftime summed up the night for both teams. The quarterback bounced off a defender, emerged from a sideline cluster and sprinted toward the end zone for a 79-yard score. In his wake were several Knights who looked to be moving uphill.
O Bingham reaches the Class 5A title game for the first time since 2010 with a runaway victory.
• The Miners score five rushing touchdowns in the first half against a stunned Lone Peak defense.
• Bingham has allowed three offensive TDs in three postseason games.