SOUTH JORDAN — It is unfortunate that about the only time a defensive lineman gets the credit he deserves is when he gets a sack. Playing on the defensive line for Bingham means much more than that.
"We know that the defense depends on us," said D-lineman Moses Kaumatule. "If we don't do our jobs up front, then things aren't going to go well."
When Bingham takes on Davis on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the 5A state title at 2:30 p.m., it will need its defensive line to step up and play its best football.
Sometimes for the Miner's front three — Kaumatule, Kesni Tausinga and Seni Fauonuku man the positions in the team's 3-4 defensive scheme — doing their job doesn't necessarily mean making the tackle, or even being anywhere near the football. What it can mean is to simply occupy the offensive linemen in front of them. Take on a player or two or three so that the linebackers and safeties behind them are free to come in and make the play.
"There is nothing better than beating a double-team and making the play," said Fauonuku, "but sometimes it is just as good to know that because you ate up the attention of a couple of guys that your teammate could make the tackle. I love it when they start to double-team me. It means that I am messing things up for the other team. It shows respect for me when the other team pays that much attention to me."
The three juniors have been garnering plenty of respect from both opponents and their coach as well.
"Those guys have been doing a terrific job for us all season," said Miners coach Dave Peck. "They're disruptive up there. They've been making plays all season, but I think they have been getting better as the year has gone on. They practice everyday like it is a game, and going up against our O-line in practice only makes them better."
Besides being the heart and soul for a defense that has been among the best in 5A all season, Peck feels that the group leads both on and off the field.
"They are all great football players, but even more than that, they are great young men," Peck said. "They take care of their business as players, but they do it at home, in the classroom and in the community as well. And the scary thing for other teams is that they will all be back next year."
While sometimes their jobs are only to keep guys off their teammates, all have had their hands in big plays as well. Fauonuku has 66 tackles and four sacks on the season, Kaumatule has four and a half sacks and 42 stops and Tausinga has recorded 43 tackles and has an interception to his credit.
"It means a lot to be a part of this team and to be a part of these guys," said Tausinga of his two D-line teammates. "We know what it takes to represent Bingham, and we love it. We love being able to go out and play defense for what we think is the best team in the state."