The Utah high school football universe, at least for the 2009 playoffs, was kicked back to normal thanks to Alta kicker Vance "Moose" Bingham.
Three field goals by the 5-foot-5 Bingham were the difference in Alta’s 23-20 victory over Pleasant Grove on Friday that moved the Hawks into a Region 4 co-championship.
The victory meant Alta will not have to face Bingham in the opening round of the playoffs this weekend and instead, the Michigan-Ohio State of Utah high school football may be contested where it belongs – Rice-Eccles Stadium. It’d be a semifinal instead of a finals, but still, the stage is much better.
Back to Bingham, who delivered a 40-yarder in OT for the game-winner, but it was the 37-yarder with 10 seconds in regulation that was the clutch kick.
Alta had no time outs remaining, but Bingham and the Alta special teams unit got on the field and set up for Bingham’s kick with practiced eased. Bingham also nailed 44-yarder in the third quarter.
Alta and Bingham took care of one segment of the postseason, and Jordan’s Alex Hart took care of the other Friday and Tuesday night to make sure one of the nation’s best QBs didn’t stay at home for the postseason.
Hart and Jordan beat Brighton twice in four days, including a 35-30 play-in game in the snow Tuesday night. Hart tossed four TDs. The reward? A meeting with the top-ranked Miners on Saturday at 2 p.m.
A brief look at the 2009 playoff brackets and what to expect
5A: While the lower bracket should give us an Alta-Bingham semifinal, the upper bracket has some intriguing matchups with Lone Peak meeting West Jordan in the opening round and a possible second rounder between Lone Peak and Hunter. Can Pleasant Grove recover from the loss of QB Dallas Lloyd and get past Hunter in the second round? That bracket will be the most interesting to watch.
4A: The general consensus in Utah these days is that Timpview probably could have had a better showing against TCU than the college team in Provo. Why not? The Thunderbirds have rung up 60 points in each of their last three games and Friday’s 64-7 shallacking of Provo for the Region 7 championship wasn’t even that close. A Mountain Crest-Highland second rounder for the right to face Timpview may be interesting, but that bracket is all Timpview. The other bracket is intriguing, with upstarts Bountiful and Bonneville facing off, Provo hoping that star RB Maka Unufe is able to play again and a fun-to-watch Springville team.
3A: Park City’s perfectly executed triple option has resulted in a lot of points and a 53-17 rout of Wasatch for the Region 10 championship, but will it be enough to deny Hurricane a rematch with Juan Diego for the title? Juan Diego’s only loss is to Idaho Highland, and the Screaming Eagles had little trouble with Morgan for the Region 9 championship.
Girls soccer state championships
5A: Alta made Utah history by winning its fourth straight state championship with a 3-2 (6-5 penalty kick) shootout victory over Davis. Davis' Mackenzie Harrison scored with 10 seconds left in stoppage time to force overtime, but Alta goalie Tashia Long made the key stop in penalty kicks for the victory.
4A: McKenzie Adams scored two goals, including the game-winner with just over 30 seconds left in regulation as Timpanogos defeated Bonneville 2-1 for its first state title.
3A: Juan Diego’s high-powered offense managed just one Emily Bruder goal, but it was enough to outlast Morgan.
2A: After winning the 3A title last year, Waterford used two Hailey Karg goals to defeat defending champion St. Joseph 3-1.
Syracuse’s Jen Hazlett, a key contributor to last year’s state semifinal run, will play basketball at West Point … Provo’s Ashley Kuchar will play basketball at Division II Fort Lewis (Colorado) and Pleasant Grove’s Chelsey Schofield will play volleyball for Utah.