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South Jordan • The national spotlight could be felt on the field, in the form of an auxiliary light tower set up by ESPN on the east side of Bingham's field.
The extra watts translated into an electrifying performance by the Miners' defense in a resounding 42-7 victory Saturday night against Bonneville (Idaho).
The dominant performance was broadcast on ESPNU as part of the network's annual High School Kickoff coverage. Thousands of viewers across the country watched Bingham force four turnovers and block a punt as it punished the visiting Bees.
"It wasn't too different," senior defensive lineman Mahorai Toki said of playing on national TV. "We just stepped it up and played Bingham football."
Toki laid a jarring hit on quarterback Tanner Smith that forced a fumble early in the third quarter.
"My eyes were closed the whole time," Toki admitted after the game. "I was just hoping he didn't throw the ball."
Teammate Landon Munson recovered and Bingham built a 28-7 lead with a 1-yard touchdown dive by quarterback Kyle Gearig.
Bingham led 21-7 early in the third quarter, thanks to a 63-yard touchdown pass from Gearig to Dalton Schults, then the Miners' depth wore down the smaller Bees, who had several two-way players.
"You never know what's going to happen in game one," Bingham coach Dave Peck said. "It's kind of like Christmas; you open up the present and what's in the box? The second half, we settled in and took care of business."
Bingham held Bonneville to just 3 yards of total offense in the second half. Vaka Vehite and Brennan Kossin each sacked Smith, and Bingham's Nick Heninger and Chase Messervy each picked off a pass.
Bingham allowed just 64 rushing yards and 172 total yards on the evening.
Bingham running back Scott Nichols dazzled the standing-room-only crowd as he spun away from and leaped over tacklers for 58 first-half yards and the Miners' first touchdown.