Bonners Ferry High School
Conference: Intermountain Conference
Head Coach: Cory Kramer
Years as Head Coach: 11th season
Record Last Year: 1-7
State Titles: None
QB/DB Kaleb Stockton (Jr)
RB/LB Nick Sabin (Jr)
WR/DB Evan Wasmere (Jr)
WR/DE Caleb Harrington (Jr)
WR/DB Issac LaValle (Jr)
RB/LB Matt Verlman (Jr)
QB/RB/DE Jason Shutes (Sr)
OL/DL Chris English (Sr)
RB/LB Evan Ellis (Sr)
RB/DB Jerimiah Verlman (Sr)
Returning Players with Honors:
Caleb Harrington (All-Intermountain League Punter)
Jason Shutes (All-Intermountain League Kicker)
Incoming “impact” players:
OL/DL Mitch Kramer (Sr)
OL/DL Ethan Ericson (Jr)
RB/DE Gabe Hubbard (Sr)
Written by: Will Hoenike (@willhoenike)
Cory Kramer may be the first-year head coach at Bonners Ferry, the northern-most high school in Idaho, but he’s spent eleven years coaching in the town located about 20 miles from the Canadian border. So he’s well-versed enough to make a blunt assessment of the program he is officially taking over.
“Last year, we were basically a really good JV team,” Kramer told IdahoSports.com. “This year, while we are still young, we actually have a lot of varsity experience.”
The Badgers are coming off of a 1-7 season where it hung with Intermountain League foes Priest River and St. Maries, but tasted victory just the one time. Kramer and his staff are hoping to see that number jump in 2015.
The key to accomplishing that is the growth of his returning players. Kramer listed ten key returners – six of which are juniors, meaning they logged heavy minutes as sophomores.
Leading the way is junior quarterback Kaleb Stockton. The multi-sport standout showed flashes as a sophomore, including a three-touchdown game (two passes, one rush) against the Lake City junior varsity. Kramer expects his offense to grow along with Stockton.
“Last year, we could move the ball well between the 20s but could not finish,” Kramer noted. “We will be able to put some points on the board this year.”
Along with Stockton, Kramer will lean on junior running back Nick Sabin to be productive behind an offensive line that includes senior Ethan Ericson, senior Mitch Kramer and junior Chris English. Senior Jason Shutes, senior Evan Ellis, senior Jeremiah Verlman and junior Matt Verlman will also be counted on to contribute offensively, along with wide receivers Evan Wasmere, Caleb Harrington and Isaac LaVelle.
“We should be pretty deep at our skill positions,” Kramer said. “And a good mix of size and speed on the offensive line.”
Defensively, the Badgers need to tighten some things up. Kramer says an emphasis will be made on better tackling, which should help cut down the 35 points per game allowed last season. Sabin, Ellis and Matt Verlman will spearhead the effort from the linebacker position, along with Shutes, Harrington and Gabe Hubbard at defensive end. The Badgers appear to have depth in the secondary, including Stockton, Wasmere, LaVelle and Jeremiah Verlman.
Bonners Ferry should also have a leg up – literally – on special teams, too, as the team returns an All-Intermountain League punter (Harrington) and kicker (Shutes).
Five of the Badgers’ eight games are on its home field, including contests with nearby rivals Priest River and Newport (WA). One of its three road games is actually a neutral-site contest as Bonners Ferry will meet LaGrande (OR) in Ritzville, Washington, on September 25.
With its youth, the Badgers might be a year away, but Kramer’s team should take a big step forward in 2015.