Down two of their best players, the Pleasant Grove Vikings pushed Bingham to the brink before getting their collective hearts broken by a kicker.
The Miners’ Nathan Chamberlain — who clanked a 33-yard field goal off the upright at the end of the first half — made amends with a 28-yarder as time expired to lift Bingham to a 24-21 victory on Friday in the second round of the Class 6A state football playoffs.
“I thought our kids battled and stood in there,” Pleasant Grove coach Mark Wootton said. “It’s been a tough year. We did everything we could today, they just got us.”
No. 8 seed Pleasant Grove, which lost star two-way lineman Wyatt Dawe to a knee injury at the end of the first half and quarterback Sam Leavitt to a rib injury in the third quarter, led 7-0 at halftime but fell behind Bingham 14-7 heading into the fourth quarter.
Sophomore backup quarterback Dave Britton was terrific in relief, leading the Vikings on a pair of clutch fourth-quarter scoring drives. The first ended in his 10-yard run to tie the game at 14. With 2:59 to play, Britton scrambled and connected with Darrius Clemons on a 31-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 21.
Unfortunately, that left Bingham with just enough time to mount a game-winning drive. Quarterback Troy Mehn converted a pair of third down passes and pushed the Miners to the PG 11-yard line with 3.4 seconds to play. Bingham called time out and let Chamberlain do his thing to win the game.
The Miners ran for 200 yards, led by Trey Ackerman (9 carries for 107 yards) and Nathan Elison (23 for 79) and a solid performance from Mehn, who 10 of 16 for 186 yards and a 52-yard touchdown to Isaiah Glasker.
“Bingham is solid,” Wootton said. “They are so big up front and that’s just what they do. It’s hard to stop them from running it down your throats because they can. It was a great effort. We worked so hard and played so hard. This is a tough loss.”
Cooper Camberlango wrestled the ball away from Glasker for an interception to stop Bingham’s first drive of the game. Pleasant Grove then went 91 yards in 12 plays, with Leavitt completing five of his first six passes to move the Vikings into scoring position. Britton came in to run the ball from four yards out for a 7-0 lead.
That’s the way it stayed until the third quarter, when Mahn led Bingham on two scoring drives to take a 14-7 lead into the fourth period. The Vikings got a bad break on the second score when Ackerman fumbled after a long run, only to have Jake Mortensen scoop up the ball and race 13 yards into the end zone.
No. 9 seed Bingham (8-3) moves on to the quarterfinals where it will face No. 1 seed and undefeated Corner Canyon (11-0). The Chargers destroyed Westlake 59-3 in the second round.
Pleasant Grove (6-5) is now 0-9 all-time against the Miners.
“No one has ever had to go through a season like this,” an emotional Wootton said. “Every week the kids have come to practice not knowing if they would get to play the next week. The kids that have come out all year throughout the state, they fought through this. They did everything they could to try to win football games. That says a ton about them and it will carry over throughout their lives.
“It’s been a crazy, tough time. All they could do is fight and they did.”