It was the Bingham offense that stole the show, but the defense that transformed the game. By the end of the fourth quarter, it was a blowout upset, as the Miners doubled up their lead in the second half en route to a 48-17 rout of USA TODAY Super 25 No. 12 Salt Lake City East which all but assuredly ends East’s time in the Super 25 while likely earning Bingham a spot back in itself.
The all-Utah clash of the titans pitted a Bingham program that has contended for the national title in most recent years and an East team which had not lost a game in state since 2014. As much as Bingham’s culture of success surely played some role in that, the Miners’ defense was paramount, particularly in its ability to create and recover turnovers. By game’s end, East had turnover over the ball five times, adding two critical second half touchdowns that broke the game open after the fourth and five turnover, respectively. The Leopards also fumbled the ball away three times in the first half, with the Miners cashing in for some points after each turnover.
Bingham scored a total of 31 points off five East turnovers.
The game was still very much in doubt after the first quarter, with the two teams tied, 7-7. At the time, East fans could be forgiven for thinking their team was in a good place, too; Bingham had only scratched out a touchdown after recovering a fumble. Then the Miners took advantage of two more of the aforementioned East fumbles to build a 17-7 lead, which became 24-17 at halftime.
From there only Bingham got anything done offensively, with the Miners defense making adjustments and shutting down the Leopards’ attack as Bingham slowly doubled it’s lead to the final 48-17 margin.
“It was the line, they were doing great,” Braedon Wissler, who scored two touchdowns in the victory, told Salt Lake City news outlet KSL. “My fullbacks, too. It was a complete team effort. We always want to go out and get that ‘W,’ and we did.”
That was enough for Bingham, which will surely move back into or on the edge of the Super 25 with the decisive victory.
For East? The loss is a cruel return to reality for a program that was going up in class and now has a sense of just how large the challenge in front of it is.