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South Jordan • The last time Riverton's football team defeated Bingham, the United States had declared war on Iraq. The Miners made sure they brought the heavy artillery on Friday in the form of constant aerial strikes.
Coleman Stout and Jantzen Bowles combined to throw for 271 yards and three touchdowns as Bingham opened region play with a 42-16 victory over neighborhood rival Riverton. Since losing to the Silverwolves in 2003, Bingham has now defeated Riverton nine straight times by an average score of 40-12.
"It's pretty easy to get up for this game," said Bingham's Hayden Weichers, who caught seven passes for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns. "It's always going to be a rivalry no matter what the wins and losses are. We just had to stay unified as a team, put our heads down and play football until it's over."
It looked over early, as the Miners (5-1) led 14-0 early in the second quarter, with Bowles and Stout each throwing for a score. Stout connected again with Weichers to put Bingham ahead 21-7 before Riverton kicked a field goal with no time remaining in the first half. From there, the Miners scored 21 consecutive points.
"I don't know what will happen the rest of the season, but I like this team and I like our chances," said Bingham coach Dave Peck, who celebrated his 150th coaching victory. "I really do feel we're getting better and better."
Peck noted the play of his receivers, as Weichers, Kalan Cantwell and Dalton Schultz took turns finding openings in the Riverton defense.
"This might be as good a receiving corps as we've had," Peck said. "They're all outstanding, big-time receivers. Our offense is getting better and better. A lot of teams try to take away our run, but when we've won state, it's been as much play-action passes through the air. You can't be just one-dimensional and go win it."
Tonga Manu and Nate Naylor each ran for a touchdown, but the ground game wasn't the focal point for the Miners. After throwing an interception at the start of the second half, Stout completed his final seven passes and finished with 235 yards passing. Bowles completed all three of his passes and added 39 yards rushing.
More importantly, the outcome helped Bingham open region play 1-0.
"This is always a real emotional game; it's a great way to start region," Peck said. "Our first goal is to be region champions and get two home playoff games."
The Silverwolves (3-3) scored their final points on Zach Cameron's 60-yard run with six seconds left to play. However, Riverton's vaunted rushing attack produced just 174 yards other than Cameron's run. The Silverwolves also completed only 3 of 13 passes with one interception, courtesy of Bingham's Sky Manu.
The Miners are looking forward to next week's battle at Lone Peak.
"They're the defending state champions and it's at their place, so hopefully we'll show what Bingham football is all about," Weichers said.