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South Jordan • When quarterback Dallen Martinez opened the season with a 78-yard rushing touchdown, the tone was officially set for the Bingham Miners.
Martinez’s spectacular run on the first play from scrimmage Friday was quickly followed by two first-quarter touchdowns from running back Havea Fotu, helping Bingham en route to a 55-35 season-opening win over the Weber Warriors.
Fotu finished the night with three rushing touchdowns. The Bingham rushing attack was firing on all cylinders in the season opener, with seven out of their eight touchdowns coming on the ground.
“Go look at our line — we got one O-lineman that’s committed to Baylor, another one’s committed to Utah State. We know our strengths, and it doesn’t matter how you line up it’s what you do,” head coach Dave Peck said. “The plan was to try to run the ball more than we were going to throw the ball. But, you know, for putting a brand new offense in something, new for all of our kids, I thought it was a big success tonight.”
Weber fumbled the ball on their first snap deep in their own territory the first quarter and trailed 28-7 after the first period. The Warriors mounted an impressive comeback, scoring 21 unanswered points in the second quarter, but Bingham always seemed to be able to find an extra gear Friday night.
When all was said and done, Martinez had racked up three touchdowns, Fotu had two while Nate Elison and Jaxon Thurman had one apiece. Fotu also had the lone receiving touchdown of the night for the Miners.
“That O-line, man,” Fotu said. “My O-line is the best O-line in the state. They provide big holes and the QB gave me the ball, trusted me with it. And so did my coaches so I just took advantage of the moment.”
On the other side of the ball, things were more balanced for Weber. Logan Payne had two rushing touchdowns while Abel Hernandez and Jett Hill each had receiving touchdowns.
University of Utah defensive line commit Aisea Moa also had a pick-six in the loss for the Warriors. Moa is a defensive force for the Warriors, who had that interception, a forced fumble and a sack on the night. But Bingham managed to keep him at bay for long stretches.
“You know what, we just tried to put bodies on him, and physically try to get after him,” Peck said. “We know what a great player he is,” Peck said.
Defensively for Bingham, the team was led by Diego Grateron, who was all over the field, making big plays consistently for the Miners. Peck said after the game that he had called Grateron out in front of his teammates about buying into the culture of the program, and it made its way onto the field.
“I’m just proud of that just as [I am for] anything that we’ve accomplished here,” Peck said. “You can see the way he’s playing is just like a whole nother level. He’s just as intense and he’s leaving it on the field, just like he did in the classroom fourth quarter.”
Peck credited the young, but talented Weber team and said that the Warriors are a team that could do something this season.
The road won’t get any easier for Bingham, as they will take on three in-state powerhouses along with an out-of-state team before region play begins. Things will start next week when the Miners host Bishop Montague from Nevada. Then they will take on defending champs Corner Canyon and American Fork before finishing off with Timpview.
“We can go a long way if we just take it week by week, practice by practice. Stay humble and just keep grinding,” Fotu said.