By Ross Johnson

For The Union Democrat

The Bret Harte Union High School football team opened their 2017 season Friday hosting the Truckee Wolverines.

“It’s going to be a good game,” coach Casey Kester said as his team warmed up on an adjacent field. “We’re going to focus on passing. I want to see good things from Michael Hughes.”

Hughes is a senior running back and safety.

Kester also had concerns prior to kickoff.

“We have a small offensive line,” he said. Non-football related health issues forced some of the players he previously relied upon to sit out this season.

“We have better skilled players this year,” he added. “We’ve got a little more speed and more of them. I’m feeling confident.”

Despite his confidence, the Bullfrogs defense had some trouble stopping a swift Truckee offense and fell behind early.

The Wolverines scored their first touchdown six minutes into the game. The Bullfrogs first offensive drive faltered early with a sack, tackle for loss and deflected punt. Truckee then scored again on a 42-yard run to take a 14-0 lead with 4:09 left in the first quarter. Another stalled Bullfrog drive lead to another punt, but senior defensive lineman Alikhan Abusaidi earned a sack to force the Wolverines to punt.

Abusaidi later left the game with a left MCL sprain and did not return.

Truckee scored again with 6:21 left in the second quarter, but a low snap on the point after kept the score at 20-0. The Wolverines scored again two minutes later to take a 27-0 lead, and yet again with under a minute left. The point after kick bounced off the left upright, leaving the score at 33-0.

The Bullfrogs showed a spark of hope before halftime when senior receiver Julian Gonzalez caught a 48-yard touchdown pass with three seconds remaining.

“The plays that are working for us are the options,” Kester said as his team jogged to the locker room. “We’re passing off the scramble, but our defense is out of position and missing their assignments.”

The Bullfrog defense was unable to hold back a massive second half Truckee attack however, and Bret Harte lost by a final score of 61-7.

“We will be better in two weeks, I guarantee you,” said offensive coordinator Jeremy Hurtado to a huddle of kneeling Bullfrog players following the game.

“Shake it off,” said assistant coach Thomas Longozo . “Come back to practice. You never laid down, and that’s all I can ask for as a coach.”

“I want to see an increased level of work, hustle and intensity,” added assistant coach defensive coordinator Kelly Osborn.

“The game is over,” said Kester. “We were unprepared across the board, but we will be prepared for Golden Sierra. It was our first game, first blood. We have to go back and retrench. We missed a lot of tackles, they just ran through us.”

The Bullfrogs have a bye next week before traveling to Garden Valley to play Golden Sierra High School on Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.