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The City Journals

Bingham Continues Tradition Under New Coach

Nov 06, 2015 11:18AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Ron Bevan

When Dave Peck announced his retirement as head coach of the Bingham football team, some football pundits wondered who could replace him and continue the football powerhouse the Miners have become.

But the Miners weren’t concerned. Waiting in the wings as Bingham’s offensive coordinator was John Lambourne, perhaps the person most suited to step in and captain the Miners on a steadfast course.

“Dave and I have coached together for 21 years,” Lambourne said. “We have the same philosophies that have built over time working with many, many student athletes.”

Lambourne and Peck were assistant coaches together at Hunter High School. Lambourne went on to helm the Cypress football team and Peck followed as an assistant. Peck also held other head coaching jobs before accepting Bingham’s position 15 years ago. Lambourne decided to follow Peck to Bingham and be his assistant.

Peck left a huge legacy for Lambourne to follow. Under Peck’s direction, the Miners compiled a 154-37 winning record. Bingham won 10 region championships and five state titles during that time. The Miners are currently the two-time defending 5A state champs.

Can Lambourne make it a three-peat?

“Part of the strength of the program is just one guy,” Lambourne said. “One guy just doesn’t do everything at Bingham. We have 18 guys from last year’s coaching staff that is here this year. We lost Dave and that is a big loss. But the bulk of our coaching program is still here. I give them credit because they have all stepped up their game.”

Indeed Bingham is in a prime position to continue its reign on the 5A field. The Miners only loss on the season came at the hands of Nevada’s Bishop Gorman, one of the top five ranked schools in the nation. Bingham has dominated all Utah school it has faced and even held five teams scoreless.

The Miners are led on offense by junior quarterback Matt Degn, who doesn’t put a lot of stats on the board but makes sure the ball ends up in the hands of the best offensive attacker. When Degn runs the ball, he is averaging over three yards per carry and he has thrown for 552 yards and three touchdowns.

“Degn is a good, solid, sharp athletic kid,” Lambourne said. “His role this year and next will expand as he learns our system.”

The main attack comes in what Lambourne calls his “three headed monster,” a trio of talented runningbacks that usually get extra yardage after the initial defensive hit. Jahvontay Smith leads the attack with Elvis Vakapuna and Brady Atkin. Smith has galloped for 510 yards this year and scored 11 touchdowns. Atkin has added seven scores on 134 yards, and Vakapuna made it into the endzone three times on 347 yards.

“We have three good fullbacks and two good tailbacks (Parker Tafua and Porter Richards),” Lambourne said. “With that much talent we are going to run the ball as often as possible.”

Defensively the Miners are solid as well, attested to by the five teams held scoreless this season. Senior linebacker BF Taufalele and junior defensive back Tongi Langi leads the defense in tackles. Taufalele has 57 tackles the year and Langi has added 49.

When asked why Bingham has been so consistent and talented for so many years, Lambourne put the focus on the athletes.

“The kids respond to our coaching,” Lambourne said. “We have a lot of talented kids. It’s a good community here, a place where people want to come and stay. We try to help by keeping the kids in line and emphasizing their grades. We are taking care of the kids the best we can.”