OAKHURST, Calif. (KFSN) --Friday night marks the final weekend of the high school football regular season.
"The best thing about going independent is it gave kids hope again," said Yosemite football head coach JD Burnett.
Something that's been missing several years for a Yosemite football program that was dominant through the early to mid-2000's. But due to a decline in enrollment, the Badgers have been fielding rosters in the low 20's-- affecting play on the field.
"It got to a point where coming into this season the program was 1 to 38 and I think there was a 27 to 28 game losing streak somewhere in there," said Burnett.
The solution-- leaving the North Sequoia League.
"We made a decision to go independent and we went out and got new games. We are able to compete against teams that are similar in size and situation and it's been a really good situation," said Burnett.
So are the results-- the Badgers are 7 to 2 this season and look primed to make a run in the D-5 playoffs. But first, an important game against Sierra High.
"For me, it's like one of the most important games because last year I really wanted to beat them because it's the tradition. We didn't really get to do that. This year we have a lot more skill and a bigger team, so I feel a lot more confident in winning that," said Kevin Bulawsky, Yosemite lineman.
"Biggest game up here. If you don't win a game all year and the other team is nine and zero you can still have a chance of beating them. It doesn't matter what the records are and it goes way back," said Tristan Eames, Yosemite quarterback.
Thirty-five years in fact-- but it's a newer tradition that has this year's squad feeling stronger than ever.
"The remedy is power clings and water, that's been kind of our motto. Something is going wrong we need to do more power clings and drink more water," said Burnett.
We asked how being a Yosemite Badger football player is going to help you in life.
Bulawsky answered, "It's taught me to work hard and keep going although sometimes it doesn't seem like it's going to get any better."
"Big lessons in life, you learn all those times you weren't winning that you have to stick through it. Just like in life, when you go through hard times in life you don't quit-- you keep fighting through it and at the end there should be a tunnel that leads into the promised world and that's what we got this year you could say," said Eames.