South Jordan • A pair of Utah assistant coaches roamed the sidelines Friday night, their eyes no doubt on Brighton's Osa Masina, one of the state's top running backs.
Bingham's Scott Nichols made sure he wouldn't be overlooked completely. The tailback ran for better than 200 yards and three touchdowns, helping his team emerge victorious in a showdown between unbeaten Region 3 powers.
"It's like when we played at Valor Christian against Christian McCaffrey," Nichols said of the highly rated running back from Colorado. "It's kind of like I'm the underdog going into the game. I just try my hardest and try to prove everybody wrong."
The 5-foot-10 Nichols put his hard-running style on display early, doing all the work on Bingham's 65-yard opening drive. He went on to add a pair of 3-yard scores in a 38-27 victory over the Bengals (6-1, 1-1).
"Scott Nichols is honestly as good a tailback as we've had," coach Dave Peck said after the win. "He's an absolute stud."
Brighton's Isaiah Kaufusi also put on a show Friday, catching a 27-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Robbie Hutchins in the first quarter and then returning a Bingham fumble 65 yards on the next possession to give the Bengals a 14-7 lead.
"On the sideline, there was no panic," Peck said of his Miners (7-0, 2-0).
A 44-yard field goal from Chayden Johnston cut the lead. Then Bingham recovered a squib kick deep in Brighton territory. It took quarterback Kyle Gearig one play to find tight end Dalton Schultz in the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Despite coming off a pair of blowout wins in which his starters played less than a full half, the veteran Bingham coach said his team was ready for a dogfight Friday.
"I think that game over at Valor helped us more than anyone knows," Peck said of the Miners' overtime win last month against Colorado's top-ranked team. "To go into that atmosphere I think set us up for these kinds of games."
On defense, the Miners would give up one more touchdown to Kaufusi late in the game, but they were able to contain Masina for the most part. The Bengal running back, who erupted for 253 yards and four touchdowns last week against Alta, was kept to just one touchdown on the night.
"We didn't spy him," Peck said. "Our kids played hard. â¦ It's all about angles and the right pursuit and hitting our gaps and controlling our gaps, and if we do what we're supposed to, there shouldn't be those running lanes."
The coach added: "We're going against the best offense every day in practice probably in the state."