SUTTER CREEK Forget horseshoes and don't even talk about hand grenades around the Bret Harte High School football team this week.
For the second straight game, the Bullfrogs came close, but fell just short of pulling off a major upset.
After giving Hughson something to think about in a closer-than-it-looks 20-7 loss in Week 5, the Bullfrogs (1-5, 0-1 Mother Lode League) appeared to find the winning combination against Amador in Sutter Creek on Friday, leading 17-14 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
But before the Frog Faithful could celebrate Bret Harte's first victory over the Thundering Herd since the 1999 championship season, Amador running back Zack Rutherford spoiled the fun.
Facing fourth-and-inches with 1:17 remaining in the game, Rutherford, who finished with 200-plus yards of rushing, took a handoff, found nothing off left tackle, bounced outside and was suddenly gone running 36 yards for the touchdown and sending the Frogs to a difficult-to-swallow 21-17 loss.
"We played well ... couldn't play any better," Bret Harte coach Gordon Sadler said. "It's both frustrating and encouraging, but it still hurts not winning."
In a see-saw game, the Frogs jumped out front first when Spencer Morin scored from three yards out early in the second quarter, giving Bret Harte a 6-0 lead.
Rutherford then made his presence felt, scoring the first of his three touchdowns with 1:11 remaining in the first half on an 11-yard run to give the Herd a 7-6 lead at halftime.
Bret Harte kicker Mark St. Louis accounted for the only points of the third quarter when he connected on a 26-yard field goal (his first of the season) with 59 seconds left to give the Frogs a 9-7 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
That lead didn't stand up for long as Rutherford scored his second touchdown of the game, this time on a 13-yard run with 10:34 remaining to put the Herd back on top, 14-9.