SOUTH JORDAN -- The Northridge Knights wanted only to give themselves a chance in Friday afternoon's class 5-A quarterfinal matchup.
And early on it looked like they might be able to put a scare into Bingham, who is ranked No. 4 nationally by USA Today. But ultimately, the Miners proved to be too big, too fast and too talented they ended Northridge's season with a 54-13 win.
The Bingham defense forced seven Northridge turnovers, including five interceptions, and scored 23 points to put the Knights in a huge hole. Kesni Tausinga, a 280-pound lineman, returned an interception 31 yards for a touchdown and then scooped up a Northridge fumble for a three-yard score.
"They only rushed three or four all game, so when they're able to drop seven or eight you have to be pinpoint accurate," Northridge coach Erik Thompson said. "I think the key was that they were able to get pressure without blitzing too much so we had to really work the ball downfield. Then, when you get behind, you have to start taking shots and they capitalized."
With nothing to lose, the Knights came out aggressively, forcing Bingham's star running back Harvey Langi to fumble on the second play from scrimmage. The Knights went to work and put the Miners on their heels, driving 46 yards for a score and a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff, Northridge pooched the kick and recovered it at the Bingham 29. The Knights missed a golden opportunity to extend the lead, however, when a pass was dropped in the end zone. Three plays later Jared Afalava intercepted his first of three picks on the day to kill the drive.
Langi -- coming off a one-game suspension -- then atoned for his fumble, running 65 yards for a touchdown to knot the score at seven.
The explosive Miners then took the lead on Tausinga's interception return after quarterback Trent Buckley was hit while releasing the ball. Bingham then got great field position again after blocking a Northridge punt. Quarterback Stefan Cantwell capped a six-play drive with a one-yard scoring plunge and then threw a 34-yard touchdown on a slant to Brady Measom on Bingham's next possession to turn a seven point deficit into a 28-7 lead in just over 10 minutes of game time. To add insult to injury, the Miners tacked on a safety before halftime as an errant Northridge punt snap sailed out of the end zone.
"(Our) kids played their guts out," Thompson said. "We came in with a plan that one out of 10 times will work (against Bingham). I really felt that this was going to be that time. We had a great week of practice, but the reason that we didn't execute is that Bingham is so good. I don't know if anyone is going to be able to hang with these guys."
Northridge senior Brock Johnson capped the scoring for the Knights with a five-yard run in the closing minutes of the game.