The Bret Harte Bullfrogs took a shellacking in their first game of Mother Lode League play Friday night at Dorroh Field allowing 42 unanswered points by the Amador High School Buffaloes.
“They kicked our ass. You can print that,” said Coach Kelly Osborn, as he walked behind his players toward the locker room.
“We had a lot of opportunities to make plays. We missed those opportunities,” he said. “We just have to play better.”
The Buffaloes scored five touchdowns in the first half and resisted a second-half push by the Bullfrogs, who nearly scored touchdowns on at least two drives.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re facing, it doesn’t matter what the score is, we have to play through the clock,” Osborn said of the team’s upcoming match against reigning league champions Sonora High School.
The Buffaloes were undefeated in non-league play coming into the game and had a 42-9 victory over El Dorado High School at home the week before.
The Bullfrogs still showed themselves to be in the midst of a transition, but Osborn said his recent tenure as coach was more about changing the culture and mentality of the program.
“We have to have the mindset of we believe we can compete and we can win,” he said.
Though they won their first game with Osborn two weeks ago, the Bullfrogs fell 43-27 last week at home against Linden High School.
On Friday, the roster numbers for the Bullfrogs appeared to have grown since early in the pre-season when they had 15 players.
On Friday more than 20 students dressed out in full gear and pads.
But their offense was smothered on each and every pay. In the first half, they earned very few, if any, first downs.
From their opening possession, it was clear Amador was out for an unabated and uncontested victory. After a Bret Harte punt, the Buffaloes acted fast, bashing and busting and battering down field. They made quick work with incisive runs. Then a facemask penalty brought them into scoring territory, and with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, they made it official by putting their first touchdown on the board.
The next series played out very much like the last.
Sophomore quarterback Kenny Scott made admirable attempts to push his offense upfield, but after four downs, they ended up farther back from where they started. On the next Buffaloes possession, they beat their way through again, earning their second touchdown with about four minutes remaining.
The Bullfrogs spited themselves with multiple fouls, pushing themselves back to their goal line before senior Emmanuel Nava punted to approximately their own 35-yard-line. The return was taken in for a touchdown, but the play was reversed because of an illegal block by the Buffaloes.
A long pass brought Amador back into scoring contention again however, and with one minute remaining in the quarter, they scored their third touchdown of the game to bring the score to 21-0.
The Bullfrogs opened the second quarter with a punt. On the first play from the Buffaloes, they made a 50-yard run upfield and were further assisted by a flag on Bret Harte. On the next play, Amador High School increased their lead to 28-0.
“I can only take so much,” said a Bret Harte fan in the crowd, packing up his chair after Amador scored their fifth touchdown with seven minutes remaining in the half.
The usually pacey and effective junior running back Tyler Cabral didn’t find the openings he usually could and again the Bullfrogs were forced to punt.
Minutes later the game was stalled for an injury sustained by junior defensive tackle Thomas Grant. He received attention on the field for about 10 minutes and then was led off-field by Osborn and medical staff who removed his helmet.
In the next series, the momentum of the Buffaloes was finally slowed to a trot. A 36-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Cabral and the Bullfrogs earned possession for the final minute of the half.
Cabral made admirable runs upfield, but the Bullfrogs were unable to find points in the dwindling seconds.
In their opening possession, Amador scored again, but now the Bullfrogs seemed more intent on earning a consolation score.
Led by Cabral, they earned a handful of first downs and made incremental progress upfield. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Bullfrogs made it down to the five-yard-line, but were stopped on a fourth down a touchdown.
The Buffaloes were on track for earning another score in the following drive, until a fumble upended their plans and returned possession to the Bullfrogs.
The Bullfrogs held onto the ball as the clock dwindled, and found themselves in scoring position again after an able catch from junior Tayler Pullin.
Cabral, from about the 10-yard line, took it around the right side as the clock sank down to zero, but was unable to earn a score.
Next week in Mother Lode League play, the Bullfrogs will take on the Sonora High School Wildcats in an away game at Dunleavy Field at 7 p.m.