Offense clicks as Roseville pounds Santa Ana school
The coach’s son at quarterback. A returning all-leaguer at running back. Seniors in the receiving core. A stout offensive line. That’s the formula for Roseville High School’s offense.
That formula worked against Santa Ana-Segerstrom on Saturday night.
The Tigers blew past Segerstrom 56-21 at Hanson Field. Every facet of the offense came together in their season opener.
It started on the offensive line, which gave up no plays for a loss of yardage or sacks. Seniors Jordan Carrell, Tobin Gramyk, Tim Mulligan and captain Eric Acosta and junior Kyle Schwartz set up rock-solid protection.
“The offensive line was great,” said quarterback Zac Cunha, son of head coach Larry Cunha. “They played how they were expected to. We have four of our five starters from last year back. So with no sacks, it was a good night.”
“The offensive line did good,” running back/receiver Grady Allin said. “Our offense had consistent blocks, and it opened up good holes for us.”
Cunha benefited greatly from the protection, allowing him time to scan the field for deep receivers. He threw a 54-yard touchdown pass to Allin (his first pass of the season) and a 46-yard bomb to Cody Lindner. Cunha was 5 for 6 for 137 yards, a robust 27.4 yards per completion.
“The first one to Grady, we had that set up in our play script already,” Zac Cunha said. “We saw that they would bite. The one to Cody, we just saw the safety creeping up, and Cody and I have a pretty good relationship. He saw it and I saw it, so it worked.”
The Tigers rushed for 218 yards, led by All-Sierra Foothill League selection Casey Lambert with 76 yards. Allin added explosive runs of 28 and 32 yards.
“We were just trying to stay consistent,” Allin said. “We wanted to pound the ball.”
The real key was the structure and design of coach Larry Cunha’s attack. The run set up the pass, as Segerstrom would add defenders to the box, only to get beat deep. This is a contrast from last season, which was a pass-first offense that set up short-yardage situations.
“The flow of the offense was good,” Zac Cunha said. “It’s a lot different than last year. Last year we were throwing the ball to set up the run. So this year, we are doing the opposite. And I think it worked out well. I mean, we got them up in the box, and then we hit them deep a couple of times.”
Roseville also benefited from a 79-yard kickoff return by Lambert to start the second half and a 65-yard fumble return by Chris Vagadori.
The defense had a good showing overall, recording eight tackles for loss. A running clock was used in the fourth quarter.
There was one glitch on Roseville’s big opening night. After the Vagadori score, Roseville was hit with a sideline warning. Larry Cunha began to argue, along with players, setting off a chain of personal conduct and unsportsmanlike flags. In the end, Cunha was ejected, and Roseville’s litany of laundry resulted in it kicking off from its 6-yard line.
Roseville 22, Segerstrom 13 — The Tigers entered the fourth period with a six-point lead, but Segerstrom scored on an 11-yard pass to take a one-point advantage.
Roseville battled back, first with a field goal set up by a 97-yard kickoff return, and then a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Roseville 56, Segerstrom 21
Roseville 7 21 28 0 — 56
Segerstrom 6 0 8 7 — 21
Seg – FG Contreras 22
Rose – Allin 54 pass from Cunha (Torres kick)
Seg – FG Contreras 22
Rose – Cunha 20 run (Torres kick)
Rose – Lambert 1 run (Torres kick)
Rose – LeDesky 4 run (Torres kick)
Rose – Lambert 79 kickoff return (Torres kick)
Seg – Perkins 5 run (Sevilla run)
Rose – Lindner 46 pass from Cunha (Torres kick)
Rose – Vagadori 65 fumble return (Torres kick)
Rose – Jansen 29 run (Torres kick)
Seg – Gomez 23 run (Contreras kick)
RUSHING — Roseville, Lambert 12-76, LeDesky 6-13, Jansen 5-39, Allin 3-68, Cunha 3-27, Butler 1-minus 5. Segerstrom, Morales 9-31, Gomez 8-57, Young 8-31, S. Roa 7-69, Mendoza 6-35, Perkins 4-29, Sevilla 4-35.
PASSING — Roseville, Cunha 5-6-0, 137. Segerstrom, Morales 2-7-1, 15.
RECEIVING — Roseville, Lindner 2-62, Allin 2-57, Lambert 1-18. Segerstrom, G. Roa 2-15.