By TAYLOR LUCKIE
For The Union Democrat
Football fans could no doubt feel the energy in the air surrounding Bret Harte High School as the Bullfrogs prepared to do battle on homecoming against the Hughson Huskies.
Just 11 seconds into the first quarter, the Frogs drew first blood. Senior running back Justice Rasmussen returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Rasmussen seemed to take his time and look for the perfect opening, then turned the jets on. He sped through the hole and quickly outpaced every nearby opponent and entered the endzone unchallenged.
“I knew we had to get some fire going early because this team is good, so I just figured go for the open hole” said the star senior, “Actually, right before, I went through in my head where I was gonna go, it just so happened that the hole opened up in front of me and I just hit it as hard as I could.”
Rasmussen was correct to classify Hughson as a good team. The Huskies put up a tough fight and eventually prevailed on a 21-yard field goal in overtime, winning by a score of 17-14.
Bullfrog head coach Scott Edwards, although disappointed with the game’s outcome, was proud of how his squad played when facing adversity. “Every situation you get in you gotta learn from. It’s like I told the guys after the game, be proud of your effort. Our offense went flat over several periods of the game, and our defense just kept hanging in there and kept us in the ball game. I’m proud of the way that we got ourselves into that scenario, we kept hanging, kept hanging, and when we got the opportunity we drove the ball down and scored.”
The opportunity that Edwards is referring to was a 76-yard drive in the final moments of the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Seth Holcomb effectively led his offense down the field and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Connor Zumbach to tie the game at 14 with just 48 seconds remaining.
It was Zumbach’s second catch of the drive, the first being a screen pass that saw him outmaneuver several tacklers. Following the defense holding Hughson’s offense from scoring, the game went into overtime.
Bullfrogs senior kicker Levi Goodale attempted to match the Huskies’ field goal with a 25-yarder that would tie the game and send it into a second overtime. Unfortunately, his kick just missed, going wide right.
“I’ve been in overtimes in the past, in other places before here. It truly is a flip of the coin, and from what our kicker has done over the year I wouldn’t expect him to miss that, but I’m not upset” said Edwards, “I’m upset that we lost, but I’m not upset with the situation and it’s anybody’s ball game. Our guys hung in there and fought through four quarters.”
After such an emotionally taxing game, Edwards is very thankful that the Bullfrogs have a bye week coming up.
“It’s good, it gives us an opportunity to rest up and it gives us an opportunity to get better as a team and not worry about somebody else’s scheme and just clean some things up,” he said. “I think we’re getting better. We’re becoming a tougher football team and we believe. So it’s just gonna be a polish session, get healthy, get some dings out and polish up our own stuff.”
Star senior lineman Mike Rocco echoed his coaches sentiments.
“We’re not used to that kind of front and we couldn’t get the motor running fast enough to keep up,” said Rocco.
Rocco described the line play as “sloppy” and it wasn’t ready for the durability of Hughson’s offensive line.
“Practice has been going good for the last week,” said Rocco. “We have to work on wrapping up right now. I think we’ll bounce back just fine.”
Following the team’s bye week, the Bret Harte Bullfrogs host the Mesa Verde Mavericks on Sept. 30