Roseville’s promising season ends abruptly in the playoffs

Tigers stunned by No. 10 Bulldogs Friday night at home
By: Steven Wilson & Megan Anderson - Of The Press Tribune
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One and done. 

It’s a trend that’s haunted the Roseville High football team in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and it reared its ugly head again Friday. 

The No. 10 Vacaville Bulldogs upset the No. 7 seeded Tigers, 52-20, in one of the most shocking outcomes of the postseason thus far. Roseville couldn’t establish any sort of rhythm on offense and couldn’t slow down their opponent’s run game. 

Despite a 9-1 regular season record and the team’s first home playoff game since 2008, the Tigers impressive season is over. 

“It wasn’t very good on other side of the ball,” Roseville’s coach Larry Cunha said bluntly before letting out a sigh. “Unfortunately, it was the biggest game of the year and we came up short on both sides of the ball.”

Despite a tied ball game early, 7-7, after a six-yard touchdown pass from Nick Martig to Josh Clark, the Bulldogs started to pull away.

Like a fine-oiled machine, Vacaville found the end zone routinely through the first three quarters. They posted a pair of scores in the opening frame before adding two more and a 37-yard field goal just before halftime. 

Roseville responded with a touchdown run from senior Brendan McMinn, but the Bulldogs added three more touchdowns in the third quarter to essentially put the game out of reach. One such series epitomized the game as Vacaville registered back-to-back-to-back touchdowns after getting three straight penalties. But on fourth-and-long, the Bulldogs ran the ball right up the gut for a 30-yard touchdown. 

The Tigers cut into the deficit late as Clark scampered 54 yards on a pass and catch, but it was too little, too late. 

Vacaville sealed the win and now advances to the second round of the playoffs with the win, while Roseville watches the rest of the postseason unfold. 

“We were one of the better teams to come through this high school and I couldn’t be more proud of my brothers,” senior Hayden Simpson said after the loss. “It meant the world to me to come out here and perform well in my final season.”

The loss ends the Tigers’ hopes for a deep postseason run and breaks up a group of seniors that have been together for almost a decade. 

“We’ve been playing together since we’ve been six-years-old,” Simpson pointed out. “So this was tough, to see it all end. We had such a great bond; the whole team was tight.”

Roseville is now 1-11 in the playoffs and 0-2 against Vacaville after a 54-34 loss to the Bulldogs in 2011. But the team did cement their name in the school’s record books as one of just three teams to play a postseason game at Hanson Field.

“I think it speaks volumes about our hard work and dedication this year to be one of those three Roseville teams,” senior linebacker Nico Andrada acknowledged. “We balled out this year and I’m proud of my brothers for that.”

The Tigers will now have to wave goodbye to their talented senior class and approach the long offseason.