South Jordan • Three years later, time has eroded some of the finer details. For instance, Kade Cloward doesn’t recall the weather that day.
The important moments, though — the ones that linger — those still are fresh. Just days before this year’s Class 5A title game, Cloward looks on as his Bingham Miner teammates gather on the field for practice. He reminisces.
There was the clock that expired, and there was the leap from the first-row seat at Rice-Eccles Stadium, over the railing, down a steep drop and onto the green turf. There was the dash to find his older brother, Kendal, and there was the hug when he did.
“It was amazing,” Cloward said.
The memory now inspires him. It pushes him forward in fourth quarters, when his body is bruised and his will is tested. As an outsider, the awe of watching his brother win a state football title — Kendal’s second — was hypnotizing. For three years now, he has imagined what the feeling would be like as a player. For three years, he has worked to find out.
His brother, who now is an assistant coach at Bingham, continues to fuel the desire.
“All the time,” Kade Cloward said, “he bugs me how he’s got two championships and I haven’t gotten one yet.”
Cloward, a junior safety and one of Bingham’s defensive leaders, is one game away from finding out if the dazzle of his imagination can match reality. The Miners play Brighton for the state championship Friday.
That Cloward is this close to finally tasting a football title is due in no small part to Cloward, Bingham coach Dave Peck said.
Big names, such as sought-after tight end recruit Dalton Schultz, 1,000-yard tailback Scott Nichols and dual-threat quarterback Kyle Gearig, dot Bingham’s roster. But the Miners may not have advanced to the title game without players like Cloward, who is among the team leaders in tackles and second to fellow safety Sky Manu with five interceptions.
“I think the bigger the game, the better he plays,” said Peck, describing Cloward’s pair of two-interception games, which came in a preseason double-overtime win against national power Valor Christian (Colo.) and in last week’s semifinal against Lone Peak. “A lot of times we say when we’re playing in games like this that some guys are just meant to make plays like this, and he’s one of them. You just feel like in those moments he’s going to make a play.”
Leaning against a cement wall separating the Bingham football field from the bleachers, Peck continues to rave about Cloward. His versatility is crucial to the Miners’ secondary, and Peck labels him the “defensive quarterback,” because he reads the offense before each play and ensures the defense is aligned properly.
But when told of his coach’s compliments, Cloward deflects credit to his teammates. Though affable, he is soft-spoken and to-the-point. Answers to questions come in short sentences.
But the conversation again turns to his brother, and to the 2010 championship. His demeanor perks. He pictures what Friday will be like, when his brother will be the one sprinting onto the field for a joyful embrace this time if the Miners win.
O Rice-Eccles Stadium
11 a.m. • Timpview vs. East
2:30 p.m. • Brighton vs. Bingham
6:30 p.m. • Desert Hills vs. Pine View