There’s a different feeling surrounding the Bret Harte High School football team and it’s all because of who is next on the schedule. Opening the season against Orestimba, who is one of the top teams in the Sac-Joaquin Section, was a daunting task. Bret Harte lost 48-7.
After a bye week, the Bullfrogs return to action and get to take on Delta Charter, who only has one win in the history of its young program. That said, its one and only win came last week in a 48-0 shutout over Valley Christian.
But the Bullfrogs believe that Delta Charter is not only a team they can stick with for four quarters, but could possibly defeat. Knowing they’ll be lining up against a relatively equal opponent has the players ready to go.
“So far, they appear to be excited for Saturday’s game,” Bret Harte head coach Casey Kester said Tuesday before practice in Angels Camp. “It’s a lot easier to get up for a game when you have 30-35 players on it. I’m going to be dressing 16 going into Saturday’s game and three of them are going to be sophomores. It’s a little tougher because everyone is going to be on the field for a long time and you never know what’s going to happen. They seem to be excited and they understand the importance of winning this game.”
Kester and the Bret Harte coaching staff have had to shift their coaching philosophies on the fly. With only 16 players able to play on Saturday, Kester has had to change the way his team practices. Players spend more time in the weight room and watching films. They will do drills that don’t involve much contact. In fact, for the most part, Bret Harte avoids contact as much as possible during the week, to ensure that nobody gets hurt.
“I’m still trying to figure that out,” Kester said about changing the way his team practices with such small numbers. “It was such a shock to see how few players we have that we were trying to do our practice routines the same way we did when we had a lot of players and it just doesn’t work. It frustrates us as coaches, because we are trying to do things that we’ve always done and you can’t do it. We are still trying to adjust to this new reality.”
Bret Harte’s last game was on Aug. 23 and the Bullfrogs won’t suit up again until Saturday, which will be 15 days between action. Kester feels that the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. Between injuries, trying to get new players out on the field and dealing with disciplinary actions, the timing was perfect.
“Having the bye week last week was a godsend,” Kester said. “With everything that went on last week with some new players coming out and some senior players getting suspended, having the bye week gave us a chance to take a breath. And it does seem that Orestimba was a long time ago and it’s not on anybody’s mind. We’ve got a game to get ready for this Saturday.”