East’s Tuiono Tuiaki (55) screams with excitement as the Leopards storm the field after defeating Bingham in the 6A football quarterfinal game at Bingham High School in South Jordan on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. | Steve Griffin, Deseret News
East’s defense denied Bingham twice inside the 25-yard line in the fourth quarter to seal the victory and advance to the 6A semifinals
SOUTH JORDAN — The things that doomed East in previous meetings against Bingham — turnovers and penalties — it had problems with again in Friday’s 6A quarterfinals, but this time they weren’t its downfall.
East overcame those critical turnovers thanks to several huge defensive stops in the fourth quarter to finally clear the Bingham hurdle with a 20-16 statement victory to advance to next week’s 6A semifinals.
“It’s a huge win for our program. This is a huge hurdle we’ve been trying to get over for the last couple of years.” — East coach Brandon Matich
East was 0-4 against Bingham over the past three years, and coach Brandon Matich acknowledged that it was a mental block his team had to overcome.
“It’s a huge win for our program. This is a huge hurdle we’ve been trying to get over for the last couple of years,” said Matich.
His team certainly didn’t make things easy on itself with those key turnovers and a couple of emotional penalties in the final two minutes while trying to run out the clock. They prevented East from taking a knee in victory formation in the final minute, and actually forced it to kick the ball to Bingham with 32 seconds remaining after an intentional safety.
Just like it had the entire second half though, East’s defense came up huge to seal the victory and a showdown with American Fork in the semifinals.
Matich said the victory over Bingham shows the evolution of his team this season.
“I think it’s just the development and growth of a young team. As a team starts to grow and you start to make changes in personnel in spots that makes you more successful, then you start to get momentum and then they start to believe in each other,” he said.
Tied 14-14 at the half, East’s defense didn’t concede any points in the second half despite Bingham moving the ball inside East’s 35-yard line on all four second-half possessions.
That included stuffing Bingham on four plays after a fumble set the Miners up just 16 yards from a go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter. Four minutes later with Bingham again nearing the end zone, East’s defense forced a fumble on the 24-yard line to realistically seal the win.
Offensively, East didn’t do anything in the second half except for the decisive drive to start the third quarter.
It marched 62 yards in eight plays as Izaak Zimmerman connected with Iversyn Tapusoa on a 19-yard screen pass for the 20-14 lead after the blocked extra point. It was Zimmerman’s only pass attempt of the game and came on third and 14 after a timeout.
“They really …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News