Bingham boys soccer making people around the state take noticeMay 02, 2022 08:37PM ● By Brian Shaw
By Brian Shaw | [email protected]
For these Bingham Miners, they are headed into uncharted territory. It’s as though the boys soccer team has charted a course to open a new mine; the only difference is that this time, they brought and are using all of their explosives.
These Miners are probing deeper than they have in years. It’s a team that has shown so much promise that people are beginning to pay attention: Bingham is currently the No. 2 team in all of Class 6A in the Utah High School Activities Association’s first RPI rankings released on April 1.
“Our main priority is still to be able to win our division [Region 3],” said head coach Leo Gonzalez, who added that he wants to stay focused on the team’s first objective and get that sorted out before he looks down the line at more.
For example, added Gonzalez, the Miners' region title hopes came down to the final game against Herriman last season, a game they lost. But this year might be different for the Miners.
This team has already shown great promise in that regard; the Miners took Herriman to overtime April 1 and won 3-2 in the first meeting between the two teams [the teams played again at Herriman, on April 27 after press deadline].
Such a sparkling start by these Miners have people talking about things like a possible state championship, one this Bingham soccer program hasn’t won since 2001. That’s because the Miners are 9-1 on the season, a byproduct of a slow buildup from the freshmen and sophomore teams up through to the JV over the past five years that Gonzalez has been head coach.
It’s a squad with so much talent, added Gonzalez, that a half-dozen seniors who have never played varsity soccer before this year are now thriving at the highest level. The kicker is that the Miners' talent level hasn’t dropped off at all; in fact, they’re playing better than they have in years.
“We have what it takes to do that [to win a region title],” said Gonzalez. “What we have to do is take what we learn at practice and continue to transfer it into the games — to stick to the game plan and make it happen.”
And now, all of that hard work of cultivating the younger Bingham teams and preparing them for that climb toward the elite in Class 6A has resulted in unprecedented depth at all positions, according to Gonzalez.
Gonzalez added that he knew he and his staff had something special on their hands last year after Ethan Beckman — then a junior — was one of that team’s top scorers. Seniors J-West Lee and Hampton Davis were also key contributors to last year’s team that made it to the 6A state quarterfinals.
All three players are again in top form for the Miners this year, as Beckman is one of the state’s top scorers with eight goals. Lee and Davis have scored three apiece on a team that has had 10 different players score a goal or more.
Defensively, Bingham has been just as solid through the first 10 games, relying heavily on seniors Bridger Heyward and Adam Goodrich, along with Connor Youlton and Gabe Morris to keep region foes at bay. That is something the Miners have been able to do through five games in Region 3, allowing just five total goals in those five matches — even with a freshman goalkeeper.
You read that right. Between the goal posts is where you will find goalkeeper Riley Whicker, the team’s lone freshman. Don’t let his age fool you, though; Whicker has had three shutouts for Bingham, who has pushed its way through Region 3 with a 5-0 record with six games left to play.
The Bingham boys currently sit in second place in Region 3 with a 6-1 record. Aside from a tough 13-11 loss to Mountain Ridge on March 31, the Miners have been impressive in their first region campaign in program history, as this is the first year the UHSAA has moved the majority of Utah high school lacrosse programs into the classifications in which other sports are played.
On the girls side, the Miners are at 3-6 overall in the standings, fifth in Region 3 with a 3-3 record. After a rough start they are catching their stride, much like they did last year on the way to a state title in Division C. The Miners have won two of their last three matches with six games remaining.