Utah high school football: Top-ranked Mater Dei beats Bingham Miners

It’s not often that the top-ranked football program in the country waltzes in and faces a Utah opponent, but that’s exactly what happened on Saturday as the Bingham Miners hosted California’s Mater Dei Monarchs. 

Unfortunately for Bingham, Mater Dei lived up to its name and beat the Miners 48-14. 

The Miners are in a bit of a transition phase, with the program in its second year after the retirement of longtime coach Dave Peck, but Bingham is looking forward with a young squad and head coach Eric Jones at the helm. 

The Miners looked good in their opening drive, but Mater Dei cut it short with a tone-setting interception.

Bingham struggled to compete with Mater Dei’s size all night, which resulted in a 21-0 lead for the Monarchs at half. 

“I think the boys were pretty nervous. You don’t know exactly what you’re getting into when (the) No. 1 (team) in the country comes rolling into town,” said Jones. 

“I think rightfully so that there were a lot of nerves associated with, ‘Hey, how good are they?’ They had a clear size and speed advantage, but I think our kids found a little bit of belief there that they could make some plays and compete to a certain level.”

Despite the large deficit, the Miners kept fighting in the second half. Finally, Bingham’s Chase Swensen ended the scoring drought on a 79-yard kickoff return. 

“It’s a little intimidating to play a team like that, but we just gave it our all,” said Swensen.

“We couldn’t come in expecting to lose. We have to keep our heads up and do our best and I think that’s what we did.” 

When asked about the kickoff return it was only joy from the Bingham senior.

“Those blocks were amazing. I just saw a lane and I went. It’s one of the happiest moments of my life. It feels amazing, and I still can’t believe it,” said Swensen.

While Mater Dei kept piling on the points, the kickoff return gave the Miners some confidence, and in the fourth quarter, the Miners’ Anthony Salazar found Triston Brimhall for the second Bingham touchdown.

With just seconds remaining, however, the Monarchs gave the final blow when Therman Williams scored on an 80-yard interception return, showing why Mater Dei sits atop national rankings. 

“We’re missing our No. 1 player in Carson Sudbury which obviously hurts, but that’s opened the door of opportunity for guys like Chase Swensen and Triston Brimhall to step into the limelight and be able to make some plays,” said Jones.

“It was awesome to see Chase get the goose egg off the scoreboard and get some points on our side for once, but our group’s young and inexperienced, and so every single week’s been a really big learning lesson for us. To try to learn against a team like that is tough, but more than anything, I’m hoping that it kind of galvanizes the kids resolve and just teaches them that regardless of the situation, you can step up and fight.”

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