By Ross Johnson

For The Union Democrat

The Bret Harte Bullfrog varsity football team opened their season with a loss Friday, falling 48-7 to an overpowering Orestimba Warriors squad.

Coach Casey Kester led an extremely shorthanded 16 player team 80 miles to Newman.

Orestimba received, but the Bullfrogs made a defensive stand and forced a punt on the Warriors first drive. Then, after stalling, Bret Harte went for it on fourth down and short, with senior running back Drew O’Flynn gaining the first down to keep the drive alive. But after a seven yard sack and a delay of game penalty, the Bulldogs ended up punting the ball away.

On the ensuing Warrior drive, junior linebacker Tyler Cabral sacked the opposing quarterback for a seven yard loss, forcing an Orestimba punt. The Bullfrog defense then held the Warriors to a scoreless first quarter.

The stalemate remained short, however, as a Bullfrog offsides penalty kept an Orestimba drive alive on a crucial third down. The Warriors then scored on a 20-yard quarterback keeper, and a converted extra point put them up 7-0. The next Bret Harte drive also stalled, and a failed punt attempt resulted in an Orestimba safety to put the Bullfrogs down by nine.

The Warriors scored again on their ensuing possession, but a missed extra point made the score 15-0 with just over seven minutes left in the first half. After another Bullfrog punt, the Warriors completed a 52-yard pass to add another touchdown and extra point to their score, leading 22-0. The Bullfrogs lost yet another possession when a sack resulted in a fumble and turnover. Orestimba then quickly scored again through the air from 36 yards out.

But just when the game seemed to be slipping from the Bullfrogs’ grasp, Cabral slipped several tackles on the ensuing possession and ran 60 yards for a touchdown, putting his team on the board. Senior kicker Emmanuel Nava made the score 29-7.

The Bullfrogs’ enthusiasm was short lived, however, as Orestimba scored again quickly and the halftime score stood at 35-7.

The Warriors made their intentions clear at the start of the second half by recovering an onside kick and scoring on their first play from 25 yards out to go up 42-7. Orestimba then forced another Bullfrog punt and scored again with 2:52 left in the 3 rd quarter, eventually winning the game 48-7.

“The harder it is, the sweeter it is,” Kester told his team after the game. “Hold your heads high. You left everything you could out there on the field. We ain’t gonna get more bodies, so we’re going to ride this horse as long as we can.”

The Bullfrogs are now 0-1, and next travel to Tracy to take on the Delta Charter Dragons on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.