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Roseville returns bigger, more experienced on the lines

By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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There were 30 new helmets — shiny black shells with orange facemasks, still in their wrappers — sitting in the office of Roseville football coach Larry Cunha on Monday, and his Tigers were ready to feast on them.

“Almost too pretty to hit,” Cunha said. “But that won’t be the case.”

The roster appears to be smaller in numbers over last season’s 57 varsity bodies, but don’t tell that to the scale. Roseville is big.

Four of five starters on the offensive line and three of four on the defensive line return, including All-Sierra Foothill League selection Ammon Tuimaunei (6-foot-2, 270 pounds), Tobin Gramyk (6-3, 270), Tim Mulligan (6-1, 270), center Jordan Carrell (6-3, 250) and All-SFL guard Eric Acosta (6-0, 235).

All are considerably heavier than last season, and they’ll protect All-SFL running back Casey Lambert (1,587 yards and 18 touchdowns) and a strong-armed quarterback who’s as big some of the linemen. Zac Cunha, the coach’s son, is 6-3, 235. He was an all-camp selection at the University of Nevada.

Roseville entered the start of camp with a greater sense of urgency this season. The Tigers will play a Week Zero game for the first time as hosts to Segerstrom of Santa Ana on Saturday, Aug. 27.

“We were looking for a Week Zero game. They were looking for a Week Zero game. We made it work,” Cunha said.

The preparation started in the summer, “getting everything in and polished,” Cunha said.

“The emphasis was on getting in as much as we could so we wouldn’t be in shock right now. The kids are used to it. The coaches are, too.”

ROSEVILLE TIGERS

Total players in camp: 140.
Freshmen: 60-plus.
First scrimmage: Saturday, Aug. 20, Foothill Jamboree with Foothill, Bear River, Florin and Will C. Wood.
Season opener: Saturday, Aug. 27, vs. Santa Ana-Segerstrom, 7:30 p.m.