Sandy • There was no halftime speech for the ages, no schematic wizardry in terms of halftime adjustments.
There simply was a challenge made by Bingham coach Dave Peck after his players played a stunningly poor first half Thursday night at Alta.
O Bingham completes its second perfect regular season in four years and beats Alta for the fourth time in five years.
» Miners quarterback Kyle Gearig throws for a TD, runs for another, and all of his 95 rushing yards come in the second half.
» Alta amasses 347 total yards in the first half to take a 27-10 lead, but is shut out the rest of the way and is limited to 39 yards after halftime.
The Miners responded on both sides of the ball and surged to a thrilling 33-27 Region 3 victory.
"I said I don’t care about the score in the second half, but I want to find out if we have what it takes to possibly win a state championship," Peck said. "I challenged them. A couple of kids got up and said they will battle and leave everything in the second half on the field."
Bingham’s defense, which was torched for 27 points and nearly 350 yards in the first half, intercepted two Chipper Lucero passes and limited the host Hawks (4-5, 2-3) to just 39 yards of total offense after the break.
Senior defensive back Sky Manu had an interception in each half, and teammate T.J. Pulu had the other to help the Miners (10-0, 5-0) overcome a 27-10 halftime deficit and complete their second unbeaten regular season in four years.
"We just tried to figure out what was going wrong," Manu said. "We tried to confuse Chipper and that helped. We just tried to be more physical. Coach told us before the game that in this rivalry, the team that’s more physical wins. In the second half, we were more physical."
Bingham quarterback Kyle Gearig rushed for 95 yards — all after halftime — and connected on TD passes of 3 and 6 yards to tight end Dalton Schultz. The Miners spent nearly the entire second half in Alta territory, thank to the two turnovers and a blocked punt.
The short field led to quick strikes and a massive swing in momentum that left Alta reeling.
It was a stark contrast to a first half that saw the Hawks move at will, paced by Lucero’s 229 yards and three touchdowns. He found favorite target Mack Richards 10 times in the game, nine of those in the opening half, and two went for touchdowns (18 and 3 yards).
That second TD connection came 5 seconds before halftime after Alta intercepted a pass with 45.8 seconds left in the second quarter.
Then came Peck’s challenge.
"Everyone knows when you have an Alta-Bingham game, pride is on the line," Peck said, "and you try to go out and play the best game you can."
Alta will be the No. 4 seed from Region 3 and play Taylorsville in the first round of the state playoffs next week.
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