Larry Cunha has been at the helm as head coach for Roseville High School since 1992, and in the years he has been the man in charge, he has posted some very successful seasons.
Two years ago, the Tigers went 9-1, and the only loss during the regular season sustained was to league champ, Antelope. However, last season, the Tigers flipped the switch and ended up on the opposite side of their previous mark going 1-9.
“In order to get back where we need to be, you have to remember the tough times and come with the mentality to work every day,” Cunha said. “Our seniors remember how it felt last season, so I think they will make a big impact in the fall. I also think a lot of juniors will be able to make an impact right away.”
The Tigers return key seniors from that team and feature a strong junior class from a JV team that captured a 8-2 record last season.
“This year's team is a lot younger than last year's team,” Roseville linebacker Jordan Susbilla said. “We have a lot of new people who need to step up this year, especially the new junior class.”
The man under center for the Tigers this season will be senior Alex Nicholas. Nicholas, who played on the varsity squad last year, started at quarterback and led them to their lone win in 2017 versus Bella Vista.
“Our goal is to get better as a team,” Nicholas explained. “We have been just trying to get things done at practice every day with the right amount of focus and effort. Last year, I felt like the effort wasn’t there, but this year it is.”
The Tigers will be hungry this year and will have Susbilla running the rock with him being Roseville’s primary back. He will look to have a breakout season after getting experience last year on the varsity level. He will also be relied upon to lead to the defense as one of Roseville’s starting linebackers.
“Jordan Susbilla probably flew under a lot of people’s radar last year, but he was a very good football player for us,” Cunha explained. “(Susbilla) is a complete football player who has the physicality and effort you want to see. He will be a key two-way guy for us.”
Roseville, over the years, has produced solid tight ends, including Jimmy Jaggers, who played at UCLA for one season. Roseville features two big tight ends this year in senior Jackson Esparza and junior Tommy Spencer.
“I can also see Jackson Esparza contribute for us big time with Alex Nicholas as quarterback,” Cunha added.
Roseville will meet some familiar faces in the Capital Valley Conference this season. Most notably will be a renewed league rivalry with Woodcreek. These two squads haven’t met in football since 2013, so stakes will be high come Week 5.
“It is going to be one hell of a game,” Roseville linemen Colten Lieburn said on playing Woodcreek.
Roseville will begin their redemption season on the road versus a new opponent in Bear Creek of Stockton Aug. 17. The Tigers in the four previous seasons had opened up versus Chico but wasn’t able to schedule them this season due to the Sac-Joaquin Section moving up their start date.
“(Bear Creek) is a opponent that we don’t know much about,” Cunha said. “We do know they have a very good quarterback as well as receiver. I would expect a talented group out of Stockton.”