Woodcreek clobbers Roseville in inaugural Junction BowlBy: Cameron Salerno
ROSEVILLE– It has been nearly five years since Woodcreek co-had coach Brad Hunkins jumped in the air, joyfully and passionately watching his team make a late defensive stand to knock off Woodcreek in 2013, 38-35. The last time these two teams played, Hunkins was the defensive coordinator at Roseville but made the switch to be Woodcreeks in 2015.
Fast forward to Friday night, and Hunkins was all smilies dawning the maroon and black; watching his new team take down his old one convincingly, 57-6.
“This is a big win for our team, coaching staff and community,” said Hunkins with a smile. “It feels great to get a win like this because this is a game we have wanted for four years, and it feels great to have won it.”
The hype forming from the rivalry was evident with a packed house of both student sections and lines out the gate to get in as Woodcreek set the tone from the get go. The Timberwolves forced a three-and-out on the first Roseville drive and scored a few plays later on a Grant Dinger touchdown run. Dinger had the first two touchdowns for Woodcreek, scoring from 9 and 31 yards out.
Carter Krupp threw four touchdowns on the night, including three to one of his favorite targets, senior Matt Willford. However, Willford, who stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 215 pounds, was a mismatch all night for the banged-up Tiger defense, which was missing many key starters.
“Last year, me and (Matt) didn’t really have a connection because he was injured for a lot of games,” Krupp confessed. “Me and him worked super hard over summer to get the connection back. You look at (Willford), who is 6-4, 215; that is a big target for me, and I just have to put it somewhere so he can catch it.”
Roseville came into the game with many injuries, including ones to starting quarterback- and running back duo, Alex Nicholas and Aaron Shima. The loss of the two primary weapons on offense forced head coach Larry Cunha to start Ethan Cunningham, who played the first three quarters before being relieved by Tomas Robles.
“I think a quarterback is very important to an offense, and having (Alex) out hurt us,” Cunha said. “It was thought to put the third-string quarterback in there, and it was a tough spot for him, and I thought he did his best.”
With the hole that was made due to Nicolas’ and Shima’s absence, Woodcreek took full advantage of the Tigers’ defense, holding a 57-0 lead before Roseville scored in the final minute with Woodcreeks’ substitutes in the ballgame. Robles found Jackson Shedd on a long touchdown pass.
“It just feels great to get a win,” Krupp said. “I feel like all our hard work is paying off, and coming into this game, we knew we would be up early and because of that they would start throwing punches. We did a pretty good job remaining calm, but the biggest thing for us tonight was we talked with our pads, not our words.”
Dating back to Woodcreek’s opening in 1994, the Timberwolves had a 3-15 record against the Tigers with the last victory coming in 2009.
Following the game, Woodcreek principal Becky Rood presented Woodcreek with the Junction Bowl plaque. Rood handed it to Krupp, who held it up in the air in celebration that his team was 5-0 for the first time in school history.
So, is this the biggest win in Woodcreek football history?
“Right now it is,” Hunkins said. “5-0 for the first time in school history feels great, and hopefully we can top it next week.”
Next for Woodcreek is a matchup on the road versus Bella Vista. A win by Woodcreek could be the first time that Woodcreek gets to six wins in the regular season.
“We just are going to take it one week at a time,” Hunkins said. “We are not going to look past anybody. We are going to celebrate this victory tonight and get ready for next week.”
Roseville, after losing three straight, will hit the drawing board. The Tigers will look to get healthy when they take on Antelope on the road next week, a team they haven’t beaten since 2014.
“We need to try and get healthy first for next week,” Cunha said. “We have to make some corrections as well as be more physical because I thought tonight we weren’t as much as I would like us to be.”