The ultimate goal is in sight for Chris Renaldo and the St. Maries High School boys soccer team.
Standing in the way of the Lumberjacks’ first state berth is a Bonners Ferry team they did not lose to this season.
But between the two clubs, the Badgers have held St. Maries in check for the majority of its last 19 attempts to earn a spot in the 3A tournament.
“Of course it’s Bonners Ferry,” Coach Chris Renaldo said. “It’s the same story each year. We’ve got to get through them if we want to add games to our season.”
The Badgers have lost twice and drawn even once this season, and won the remainder of their 11 games.
St. Maries owns two of those results, having defeated Bonners Ferry 2-1 in late August, and drawing with the Badgers 0-0 in mid September.
“We have the best record in the league against them,” Coach Renaldo said. “They’ve lost to us, and Timberlake. I think we’ve had a much better season than some could have hoped for. The boys have really improved as we’ve gone along.”
The winner of Friday’s semifinal contest between St. Maries (7-5-3) and Bonners Ferry (12-2) will earn a berth in the 3A state tournament next week at Vallivue High in Boise. The ensuing district championship game against the winner of Timberlake and Coeur d’Alene Charter will determine District One’s first and second seeds in the state bracket.
The Jacks earned their spot in Friday’s game with a 4-0 win over Priest River.
Connor Wolfe found the back of the net early in the opening-round matchup Oct. 14, striking unassisted in the 13th minute for the game-winner.
Cade Martin added a 40th minute marker on a pass from Lance Hamblin, who accounted for three of St. Maries’ four goals in the win. Lance scored the next pair of goals for his team, first in the 53rd minute on a pass from Dylan Sotin and again in the 60th minute from Connor.
Greyson Sands made nine saves as St. Maries outshot Priest River 19-11.
The team closed its regular season Oct. 10 with a 3-0 win at Orofino.
Dylan opened scoring with a 28th-minute marker, assisted by Trysten Lockridge.
Danny Toledo got one past the Maniac goalkeeper just before halftime as he added to St. Maries’ lead in the 38th minute, and Dylan capped scoring on an unassisted marker in the 70th minute.
Greyson had four saves, and St. Maries put 17 shots on goal to Orofino’s four.
Kickoff Friday at the Fields at Real Life Ministries in Post Falls is set for 6 p.m.