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Young Tigers striking at opportunities in Roseville camp

Defense stepping up; ongoing battle at QB with season opener tonight
By: Bill Poindexter/Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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This happens occasionally in high school football. Some classes are heavy in personnel, and others aren’t.

This is one of those years at Roseville High School. Three varsity players saw significant field time last season for a team that broke records in the always-entertaining Sierra Foothill League and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs.

That has presented opportunities on top of opportunities for seniors and juniors in training camp, and several have impressed head coach Larry Cunha.

Kyle Schwartz, Grant Jansen and Austin Ash — the three seniors — will see considerable time. Schwartz is a two-way lineman. Jansen will platoon at running back and on the defensive line, as will Ash at linebacker and tight end.

As for the new faces, junior running back/defensive back Matt Razzano has been impressive, as has junior linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk.

“He has a nose for the football, quick reads,” Cunha said of Kunaszyk. “He’s going to be a good player.”

Cunha said Roseville’s defense is ahead of the offense heading into tonight’s opener against Cosumnes Oaks in Elk Grove. Schwartz and juniors Daniel Gomez and Isaac Carrel led the charge on a six-minute goal-line stand Saturday night in a three-way scrimmage with Center and River City.

Juniors Kolton Miller (6-foot-8, 265 pounds) and Evan Valente (6-3, 265) give the Tigers size.

“Every day they’re picking something up and doing something better,” Cunha said of his young squad. “The bad news is, there’s a lot to learn.”

Holes remain to be filled. Among them …

“We’re trying to find a quarterback,” Cunha said.

Juniors Kyle Downie and Jonathan Lopez are “neck and neck,” according to Cunha. They share similarities, among them their mobility.

Said Cunha, “We’ll split time until one separates.”

ROSEVILLE TIGERS

Date       Opponent
Today      At Cosumnes Oaks, 7:15 p.m.
Aug. 31   At Rio Linda, 7 p.m.
Sept. 7    FOLSOM, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 14  At Oakmont, 7 p.m.
Sept. 21  PLEASANT GROVE
Sept. 28  Idle
Oct. 5     At Granite Bay (SFL)
Oct. 12   DEL ORO (SFL)
Oct. 19   NEVADA UNION (SFL)
Oct. 26   At Rocklin (SFL)
Nov. 2    WOODCREEK (SFL)
Varsity games are scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. unless noted.

Today’s opponent: Cosumnes Oaks has graduated two senior classes in its short life and is coming off its best season yet — an 8-4 campaign that included a 14-0 victory over third-seeded Manteca, a perennial Sac-Joaquin Section title contender, in the first round of the Division III playoffs. Walking into Cosumnes Oaks’ new stadium might bring on a bit of culture shock for regular visitors to Roseville’s Hanson Field. After all, Roseville turned 100 last year; CO, as its known in Elk Grove, is 5.