Jr. Tigers run past Rocklin in SYFC playoffs

Roseville Jr. Midget team advances to face Folsom
By: Brett Ransford, Press Tribune Correspondent
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A late touchdown run by Jonathan Tuttle lifted the Roseville Jr. Tigers Junior Midget team to a 14-8 first-round playoff win over Rocklin Saturday at Oakmont High. When these two squads met during the Sierra Youth Football regular season, the Jr. Thunder won 16-0 on their home field, but this game was a different story. Rocklin played this one without defensive linemen Kyle Bowlin and Arman Mizani, which made a difference on that side of the ball. “We played them very tough the first time,” said Rocklin coach Michael O’Rourke. “With those two guys missing (Bowlin and Mizani) we had a big hole in that side of the line. The guys stepped up and filled in pretty well though. We only gave up fourteen points to them.” The Tigers did them damage with the ground game, as they completed just one pass in the entire contest. Tuttle broke 62 yards for a first-quarter touchdown to give Roseville a 6-0 lead and the team did not score again until midway through the fourth period. After a short punt and good field position the Jr. Thunder began a second quarter drive at their 46-yard line. Quarterback Max O’Rourke topped off the drive on a one-yard draw play. The converted point after put Rocklin up 8-6, a lead they held most of the day. It was Tuttle again in the fourth but this time for the game winner. Roseville drained half of the fourth quarter clock in a 50-yard drive. Tuttle closed off the sequence with a 19-yard touchdown run that gave his team the lead. Rocklin’s last drive ended on fourth-and-three play, when Roseville’s Grant Guillen secured the win on a sack with 35.3 seconds left in the game. “The boys played resilient and never quit,” said Roseville coach Dawayne Tuttle. “We were down and kept putting drives together and finally got that last one down field. Our defense stood them up and that’s the way these kids have played the last three years I’ve coached them. Our coaches keep telling me to run John (Tuttle) more but I’m not just going to give it to him. He has to earn his opportunities like everyone else.” Tuttle has earned his spot all season long. He led the way with 150 rushing yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns. On defense he also picked up 11 total tackles. “We had a good offensive game plan coming out,” said Tuttle. “We were trying to shift out everyone and the O-line blocked big so I could break out big. Last time against Rocklin we were 4-0 and thought we were going to be the best in league. There were a lot of good teams in league so we had to get over ourselves.” Rocklin had 11 new players this season with seven never having played football before. O’Rourke was positive and proud of his team’s season efforts. “We had many kids come from never playing football before to pretty good football players by the end of the season,” O’Rourke said. “I look forward to them being an even bigger part of the team next year.” The No. 3-seeded Jr. Tigers will play their second round game at home on Hanson Field but will officially be the visitors against top- seeded Folsom (8-1 regular season), a 30-8 winner over Oak Ridge Saturday. Roseville will look to match its week three result against Folsom, when the Tigers beat the Bulldogs 30-0 at Hanson Field.