In addition to battling for wins on the field each fall, high school football teams and their fans around the Inland Northwest also battle to host Tom’s Tailgate each Friday night during the season. Tom Sherry, the chief meteorologist for Krem 2 News, tours the Inland Northwest visiting with high school athletes during their Friday night football games. Each week two different football games are chosen to visit but then Tom leaves it to the students, parents and football fans to vote for which game he will visit on the following Friday. The rivaling schools whose team wins the most votes will have their game appear live on Krem 2 News along with having a check of $222 presented to each school before the game.
For this season’s opening game on August 26, the vote came down to Bonners Ferry versus Lakeland in Rathdrum, and Sandpoint versus Post Falls. Fans from all schools took to the web in a furious battle to see who would get the coveted spot, and after much anticipation it was announced that the Bonners Ferry game had narrowly won the race by a mere 12 votes and Tom Sherry would be heading to Rathdrum for the famous Tom's Tailgate broadcast!
Photographer Robert Lavala was at the game and shared a few thoughts on how the game went. “Right away you could see the disparagement in numbers. Lakeland, a 4A school, had around 60 or more players and Bonners Ferry, a 3A school, had around 20. After the first quarter with the Bonners Ferry Badgers playing most of their starters without a break, they were being worn down by Lakeland's ability to change entire groups of players to remain fresh. It was pretty one-sided.”
Sadly, the game ended with a 44-0 loss to Lakeland but Coach Kramer isn’t worried.
“We were playing a much bigger team. We were outnumbered and outmanned, but we are still keeping our eye on the goal this year and that’s to win league. We’ve had our ups and downs, more downs than ups so far, but I feel our goal is still very attainable.”
The Badgers face five non-league games this season, and with three weeks behind them now, they are able to get in some much needed playing time as well as a fierce test of ability. Week two was their first home game against the Lakeside Eagles and the Badgers brought out their fighting spirit as they courageously fought back throughout the game with the final score ending in a loss of 42-28. Week three they faced yet another loss against the hard hitters of Freeman High School, but they aren’t discouraged. The team is looking forward to their upcoming conference games and is using this opportunity to fine tune both the offensive and defensive teams in an effort to bring a strong force at the end of season for their league games.
The Badgers still have to take on St. Maries and the Sandpoint Bulldogs this season before they begin this year’s conference games against the three remaining teams, Kellogg, Priest River and Timberlake. Coach Kramer believes that this is the year the team will take State and is pushing the team hard in that direction. They will need to beat at least two of the three conference teams to be eligible for the State playoffs. But if they win all three games, the first playoff game will be held in Bonners Ferry so be sure to come out and cheer for the Bonners Ferry Badgers as they make their push for the State title!