Bingham, Brighton, Desert Hills will play for state titles

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Bingham High is clicking on all cylinders headed into the 5A championship game.

The Miners beat up Lone Peak in the semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium, 48-13.

Scott Nichols helped the Miners race out to a 14-0 lead with touchdown runs from eight and seven yards. But the big star was quarterback Kyle Gearig. He rushed for three touchdowns in the first half, including a 79-yarder late in the second quarter to give Bingham a 35-6 lead at the break.

"I think it all had to do with our history with Lone Peak," said Gearig. "The past two years, we've lost to them. So, we came in with good motivation and came out ready to play."

"The last two years, we've come up short," said head coach Dave Peck. "So our saying, which started in the off-season, was are you guys tired of just being good? Ya, we have a good program, but why don't we dare to be great?"

The Bingham defense was great, allowing just one Lone Peak touchdown until late in the 4th quarter.

The Miners will next face Brighton in the 5A championship next Friday.

The Bengals steamrolled past Jordan, 44-20 as Osa Masina rushed for 201 yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals rushed for 316 yards as a team.

"That's definitely our style of football," Masina said. "That's just how Brighton plays football. We grind it out running, waste the clock and then beat you on the big play."

The Bengals (11-1) defense shut down the Jordan attack, which put up 62 points last week. Brighton held heralded quarterback Austin Kafentzis to just 188 yards and no touchdowns.

"I think we had a good defensive game plan," said linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi. "We came in and tried to get all eleven hats to the ball. We came in with some great intensity. We take great pride in our defense."

Sione Heimuli added 72 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Dall Hunter kicked three field goals.

Brighton's lone loss of the year came to Bingham, 38-27 back on October 4th.

In the 3AA semifinals, Desert Hills beat defending champion Dixie, 21-14, thanks to two special teams touchdowns.

Braden Reber returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown just before the end of the first half, while Zack Fuchs returned a kickoff 92 yards for a score.

Dixie took a 14-7 lead in the 3rd quarter on touchdown runs by Ammon Takau and Konnor Aitken, but Desert Hills took the lead for good on a 1-yard touchdown run by Bridger Cowdin with 6:46 left in the game.

"It feels amazing," said Reber. "We've been working so hard for this win. It just feels amazing to play for the state title."

"We have admiration and respect for that program," said Thunder head coach Carl Franke. "They are true champions. To be able to be here and play well with them today is special."

Desert Hills will now face Pine View for the 3AA championship next Friday.

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