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Young Tigers look to grow up quickly

Roseville rebuilds around new quarterback
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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With a murderous early-season non-league schedule, and a very young football team, Roseville High coach Larry Cunha decided to challenge his squad even more when he filled a week three open date with powerful Nevada Union. “It is probably not a good year to play that schedule,” Cunha said. “By week we should be fine, but we are very young with a lot of guys still learning what it means to play at the varsity level.” The Tigers shared the league title in 2009, and then saw most of that team graduate and leave a new group to take over. One of those newcomers is junior quarterback Nick Blaser, a player Cunha is convinced will be a star. “He is learning a very complex system, but Nick is catching up fast,” Cunha said. “Four or five weeks in, as we get ready for league play, this guy is going to be very good.” The Tigers are smaller than they were a year ago, and will be more of a finesse team than they have been in recent seasons. Their biggest strength, according to Cunha, is their depth on the defensive line and in the secondary. Anthony Roberts, at 5-8, 195 pounds, is the leader of the defensive front, with Jeff Minasian providing some girth up front at 6-0, 223. Josh Weber leads the linebacker corps, while Tyler Ash gives Cunha some skill at defensive back. Blaser is very impressed with the Tigers’ skill position players on the offensive side of the ball. Jesse Klimek, Gabe Lorico and Parker Daughtree provide some young talent on the outside, while Matt Hack made some huge catches for Roseville last season. “With fast receivers, we hope to move the ball more quickly down the field,” Blaser said. “We have fast guys at running back and receiver and a great offensive line.” Francisco Chavez and Alex Schwartz are two anchors up front. Cunha will use junior Tyler Renville much like he did Zack Davis a year ago. “Renville will be a multi-purpose guy,” Cunha said. “He will line up in the backfield, split out wide and do a lot of things for us.” Roseville also looks to get significant offensive contributions from Beau Smith and fullback Vladi Tkachenko, who has big back size and tailback-like speed. There might be some tough days early on for this young team, but Cunha believes that his team has the potential to be a factor in the SFL as his players catch on to what they want to do. FYI: Roseville Tigers 2008 record: 8-4 (lost to Burbank in section semifinals) Zach Tapia, senior kicker – 34 successful PATs in 2008 This week: 7:30 p.m. Friday vs. Rio Linda