RATHDRUM — After winning matches on each other’s home field, what else might have you expected between the Timberlake Tigers and Bonners Ferry Badgers in a 3A District 1-2 boys soccer championship?
Close, tight game? Check.
The difference between the two coming down to just one play.
Unfortunately, the new kids on the block were unable to break through again.
Eric King scored on a rebound of a Drew Foster shot in the 43rd minute, and the second-seeded Badgers held on late for a 1-0 win over the top-seeded Tigers at the Sunrise Rotary Fields on Thursday.
It is the 13th straight district title for Bonners Ferry and coach Wayne Wilkerson, whose team advances to the state 3A tournament starting next Thursday against Weiser (9-5-2) at Vallivue High in Caldwell.
“We have a solid crew this year,” Wilkerson said. “They’re just meshing really well right now. And our midfielders are as well. The kids know how I coach and what I expect, and they played well tonight.”
Timberlake (11-4-1) will face McCall-Donnelly (6-7-3) in a state play-in match on Saturday at Walker Field in Lewiston.
Bonners Ferry (10-5-1) held Timberlake to five shots on goal. The Badgers finished with nine.
Timberlake won 3-1 at Bonners Ferry on Sept. 21, with the Badgers topping the Tigers 2-0 on Oct. 3 in Spirit Lake.
“That’s a tough team and we’ve seen them three times now,” Wilkerson said. “It was a tough day today with the weather, but the boys played really well.”
Seth Bateman had five saves for Bonners Ferry in the shutout, the team’s third straight at districts.
“We played them with two forwards and had some success in the first game,” Timberlake coach Bert Bentley said. “We tried to play it a little more safe this time and definitely it was a even match. We knew it was going to come down to whichever team didn’t make the critical mistake.”
Timberlake, which started its program in 2014 under Bentley, advances to a play-in for the first time since its inaugural season. The Tigers are still looking for their first state berth.
“I’m happy with the way we played overall, but it’s always a different game against Bonners,” Bentley said. “It can be rough sometimes. After the first (yellow) card, we were able to settle down. They always manage to put in the extra work to get better this time of year and we tried to put in that work to get where they’re at, and I think we got there. We just came up a little short.”
First half — none. Second half — 1, BF, Eric King (Drew Foster), 43:00.
Shots on goal — BF 9, TL 5.
Saves — BF, Seth Bateman 5; TL, Sheldon Kistler 5, Ron Rojas 3.