SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – It’s the rematch everybody was expecting in the 6A championship game.
East and Bingham both won semifinal games Friday and will play for the very first 6A title next week.
The high-powered Leopards managed just 227 yards of total offense, but pulled away from Lone Peak to advance to its third straight state title game, 28-13.
Charlie Vincent rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while Xavier Spann ran for 70 yards and another score, as East blew open a 7-7 game at the half with a 21-point third quarter.
“We just had to make some big adjustments,” said wide receiver Jaylen Vickers, who caught a 56-yard touchdown pass from Ben Ford. “It was just blocking schemes. They weren’t messing us up, we were our own selves up.”
“They were beating us to the punch,” said East head coach Brandon Matich. “We had to adjust our line sets a little bit. If you have a team that’s smaller than you are, then they have to use their athleticism to their advantage. They’re going to knife and cut inside, but we adjusted well, fixed things and we were able to get some points on the board.”
East will get another shot at Bingham in the 6A title game. Back on August 25th, the Miners easily beat the Leopards, 48-17.
Bingham disposed of Herriman in the other 6A semifinal, 31-7.
Tanner Merrill had two of Bingham’s six interceptions, incluing a 29-yard pick-6 for the first touchdown of the game.
After Herriman tied the game on a 9-yard touchdown pass from Blake Freeland to Alex Anderson, Bingham seized control.
Ryan Wood threw touchdown passes to Braedon Wissler and Brayden Cosper, while Wissler provided the finishing touches with a 7-yard touchdown run.
But the Bingham defense was the story, continuously setting the offense up in good field position with six interceptions.
“I feel like we were really good as a defensive unit,” Merril said. “Coach kind of knew what they were going to do before they were going to do it. He just kept setting us up, and we got picks off of it.”
“We struggled a little bit in the first half,” said Wood, who completed 7 of 16 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns, to go along wth 56 yards rushing. “But thankfully our defense was awesome, and we finally got on track.”
Bingham remained undefeated and will be once again ranked in the top-10 in the country headed into next week’s championship game. But the higher the expectations, the better Bingham seems to play.
“I respect those players well enough that, I’m telling you, it wasn’t a given for me,” head coach John Lambourne said about Herriman. It wasn’t a given for our players, and I think our guys take that approach.”
In the 4A semifinals, Orem knocked off undefeated Sky View, 28-12.
Tigers quarterback Cooper Legas rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another to Puka Nacua. Legas finished the night completing 18 of 25 passes for 191 yards.
Jackson Siddoway threw for one touchdown and rushed for another for th Bobcats, who came into the game with a record of 11-0.
Orem will face Mountain Crest for the 4A championship on Friday.