Roseville settles down, escapes Stockton with victoryBy: Nick Pecoraro
Friday night in Stockton had a bit of everything for football fans.
The Roseville Tigers, looking to retool after a downward spiral of a 2017 season, opened up 2018 with the most points they’ve scored in a game since October of 2016 in a 52-46 melee at Bear Creek Friday.
In a nearly four-hour game, Roseville prevailed with second-half defense, settling down after each team exploded with points coming in a bevy of ways in the first half.
The Tigers found themselves down 40-34 before halftime thanks to three kickoff returns for touchdowns by the Bruins, much to the dismay of Roseville head coach Larry Cunha.
“There were lots of big plays,” said Cunha. “But special teams; we need to work on those. You take away those three kickoff returns, and we’re up by 14 or 15 points.”
Roseville provided fireworks of its own in the first half. Junior Terrell Williams broke free for a 99-yard kickoff-return touchdown as well as an interception return for a score to give the Tigers a spark.
Aaron Shima scored three touchdowns on the ground while rushing for over 170 yards, and quarterback Alex Nicholas threw for 247 yards and a touchdown to tight end Tommy Spencer.
In the second half, Roseville gave up only one touchdown, allowing the Tigers to capture the lead for good and leave Stockton with a big opening-week victory.
“We controlled the line of scrimmage for the most part,” said Cunha. “The defense was solid. We were pleased that our kids played hard and fought through it. It feels good to get the first one wrapped up.”
The Tigers are coming off a season in which they went 1-9 – their worst record in years. Williams, Shima and Spencer are all part of a junior class that joins a varsity program from last year’s JV squad that went 8-2 and turned it on offensively once Capital Valley Conference play began, out-scoring league opponents by nearly 25 points per game.
Cunha and company will look to clean up the defensive and special teams miscues and keep pace offensively as it enters Week 1 for the Tigers’ home-opener against city-rival Oakmont Aug. 24. The Vikings won their home-opener Friday, 45-0, over El Camino.
“It will be a a big game for us and for them,” said Cunha. “It’s our rivalry game, which always kicks up the stakes a little bit. They’re our longest and biggest rival, but we need to make sure we take care of our business, and then the rivalry will settle itself out Friday.
Roseville 43, Bear Creek 0