Roseville juniors taking crash course in varsity level of playBy: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
Roseville High School has a young varsity football team this season. How young?
“This is a young, young, young group,” head coach Larry Cunha said Tuesday during a break in the Tigers’ two-a-day practice sessions.
The Tigers lost — well, darn-near everyone. Roseville returns all of three seniors who saw significant playing time last season: Austin Ash, Grant Jansen and Kyle Schwartz.
Big-play running back Casey Lambert and receiver Cody Lindner? Physical defensive players McCory Ledesky and Ammon Tuimaunei? Offensive linemen Jordan Carrell, Tim Mulligan, Tobin Gramyk and their combined 800 pounds of protection? All graduated. Record-breaking quarterback Zac Cunha? Now learning the offense at Minot State in North Dakota.
But Cunha isn’t exactly welcoming the “Little Giants” onto Hanson Field this week, either. This junior class went 8-1 last season, which included drubbings of Folsom, Nevada Union and Del Oro. These Tigers defeated Granite Bay in their finale and tied Rocklin for the Sierra Foothill League crown. They outscored their opponents by an average of 31.7-11.7.
While not “overly big,” according to Cunha, junior Kolton Miller opens eyes at 6-foot-8, 265 pounds. They’re competitive and working hard.
“It’s a good, young junior group. It’s just the experience part at the varsity level,” Cunha said. “They’re going to be good. It’s just a matter of how quickly we can get them to that level.”
Roseville’s new defensive scheme — input by a new staff under Cunha — will get its first regular-season test against Cosumnes Oaks on Aug. 24 in Elk Grove.
Folsom and Pleasant Grove remain on the nonleague schedule before the usual diet of SFL heavyweights.
“We still have one of the toughest schedules,” Cunha said. “The assistants keep hounding me on the schedule, but oh well.”