South Jordan • Most teams that gain fewer yards than their opponent usually don’t end up winning games. It helps to have some momentum changers.
Despite being outgained by Hunter, Bingham had four touchdown returns and scored 41 straight points to break an early tie in a 48-15 victory Friday. The Miners returned three interceptions and one punt for scores.
"Coach believes in us defensive backs that we can cover 1-on-1, so he sends blitzes," said Bingham’s Sky Manu, who had one of the interception returns. "The touchdown we gave up was a coverage mistake, so we wanted to make up for it. It makes it way easier for our offense because they get more rest."
The teams traded touchdowns three minutes into the game before Bingham (4-0) went on a rampage. Manu and Chase Messervy both returned an interception for a score, Scott Nichols and Aaron Marsh had rushing touchdowns, and Kyle Gearig connected with Dalton Schultz on a scoring pass.
Bingham amazingly only had 22 more yards than Hunter at halftime.
"Those were huge," Bingham coach Dave Peck said about the returns. "When you get a pick-six, it totally changes the momentum of the game. Those kinds of plays demoralize the other team. We’ve got some kids that are players and good athletes. Not one guy goes both ways, so we expect them to be good at what they do."
The pace slowed considerably in the second half. Bingham began rotating in some of its 16 freshmen and sophomore players. But the Miners weren’t done. Harvey Yazzie returned another interception for a score in the fourth quarter before Hunter (2-2) rallied for a late touchdown.
"It’s a good way to keep our offense from not having to worry about anything," Manu said about the defensive plays.
Hunter, meanwhile, picked up steam in the fourth quarter to finish with 57 more yards than Bingham (270-213). However, the scoreboard told the tale. Landen Measom got things started with a 55-yard punt return for a touchdown.
The Miners took advantage of the opportunity to rest Nichols, who scored on his only carry, for most of the game.
"We wanted to save his legs and give other kids an opportunity," Peck said. "For us to win region and state, he’s got to stay healthy. That’s what it’s all about — doing everything we can to win region and state titles."
Gearig rushed for 48 yards, and Sione Finefeuiaki had 45 for Bingham. Daniel Langi had two sacks and recovered a fumble, and TJ Pulu added an interception.
Joseph Tiatia scored both touchdowns for the Wolverines.
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