The Bret Harte Bullfrogs varsity football team, now with an interim head coach, is bracing for a home contest Friday night against the Arroyo High School Dons from the East Bay.

Kelly Osborn, a Bret Harte graduate who played Bullfrogs football, continued playing football at Sacramento State University, and is a former defensive coordinator for Bret Harte varsity football, took over as interim head coach earlier this week for the rest of the 2019 season.

Osborn accepted the interim head coach offer from Bret Harte Union High School District on Tuesday, hours after previous Bullfrogs varsity head coach Casey Kester resigned.

The Bullfrogs are 1-2 so far this season. Osborn inherits some of the same challenges Kester faced, including low roster numbers. In late August, the Bret Harte varsity football team was reduced to 13 players at the start of a week with no game scheduled, prompting Kester to wonder if he’d have to cancel games.

Bret Harte varsity coaches have fielded 15 to 16 players in recent games. Suspensions and injuries have contributed to roster reductions for a program already coping with low turnout. A roster for the Sept. 7 Bullfrogs game at Delta Charter outside Tracy listed nine ineligible players.

In early September and late August, Bret Harte’s low roster numbers prompted Sonora High School to reschedule their homecoming to be Oct. 18 against Calaveras High School rather than Oct. 11 against Bret Harte.

With the recent coaching change at Bret Harte, Bullfrogs varsity football numbers could change but they’re unlikely to change overnight. According to the California Interscholastic Federation, new players must have 10 practice days before they can take part in competitive tackle football.

Arroyo High School is an East Bay community in San Lorenzo, Alameda County. Arroyo High is a public school about 110 miles and a three-hour drive west of Angels Camp. Arroyo was established in 1955 and today has a student body close to 1,750. Bret Harte High School dates back 115 years to 1904 and has enrollment of about 650 students.

Friday night’s game is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at Dorroh Field and Bret Harte High School, 364 Murphys Grade Road in Angels Camp.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter at @GuyMcCarthy.

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