There would be no need to ask Bret Harte fans for more cowbell Friday night in Tuolumne.
The Bullfrogs were gunning for their first Mother Lode League win of the season.
So were the Bears.
Chilly temps and senior night.
The Bullfrogs got first possession, plowing their way to the 41 to start their night.
Bret Harte’s Ryan Kraft took charge with a series of crisp passes before the team faced their first third down conversion opportunity. The Bears pushed them back a few, but the ‘Frogs liked their chances on a fourth and six. That is until an offsides penalty on a jumping ‘Frog lineman forced them to punt with 10:21 to go in the first.
Summerville’s Jaden Brocchini took over at the Bears’ 33. And so began the ground game as the Bears wound their way into Bullfrog territory.
Senior Nicolas Veach, Brocchini and Charlie Olsen took turns picking apart the Bullfrog defense.
But a tidy tackle by Micah Paulson for a loss of yards forced a field goal, keeping the Bears to a 3-0 lead with 4:24 to go in the first.
Hunter Brewer was stopped on the kickoff at the 32 by Mike Litzler as the Bullfrogs’ offense took over.
A Kraft keeper. A Tres Machado tackle for loss. And a group sack by a pack of Bears ended the possession quickly.
Bears at the 50 yard line. One-too-many ‘Frogs on the field improved the Bears’ position and Veach picked up the first down on the ground before the second quarter field flip.
The Bears went for it on fourth and six. A Brocchini to Jordan Craddock pass was good enough for the first down and the Bears were within 11 of the goal line. Veach tumbled to the one. Brocchini finished the job and the Bears took a 10-0 lead with 9:31 to go in the half.
On the kickoff it took half a team of Bears to bring down Bullfrog Paulson and Bret Harte took over at their own 28.
The ‘Frogs tried the ground game on their next series, but the Bears’ defensive line proved frog-proof. A Bullfrog three and out.
And then perhaps the prettiest pass of the season.
Brocchini to Justin Roberts. At the numbers. Catch. A 41-yard touchdown. Bears lead 17-0.
The Bears wrestled another possession in the half, working their way into Bullfrog territory.
A fourth and eight with half a minute to go brought out the field goal unit for a 31-yard attempt. No good and the Bears took the 17-0 lead into the half.
It was a slow start for both teams as second half play began. Until about five minutes in when Veach carried the ball for a big gain and put the Bears into the Red Zone.
Summerville was held to another field goal and a 20-0 lead in the third.
Trevor Ferguson gave the Bullfrogs good field position on the punt return near midfield.
Ryan Miguel somersaulted to a first down and the cowbells were back on the visitor side.
Karson Kirk picked up another chunk of yards but that’s where the drive would stall as the Bears took over on downs.
As the fourth quarter began, the Bears were again challenging the goal line. First and goal. Veach with the carry. Veach with the TD. Bears 27, Bret Harte 0.
On the next possession a miscommunication caused an interception, and Summerville took over on the Bullfrogs’ 44.
The cost to the ‘Frogs? Another Veach touchdown and a 34-0 deficit with 9:42 to go in the game and a running clock.
And so it would end. The Bears picked up their first league win. The 'Frogs will try again next week against Argonaut. Bret Harte is on the road for a 7 p.m. game in Jackson..
Next week, the Bears are on the road at Amador. The game starts at 7 p.m.