Road to state runs through Roseville’s stadium

Brian Meyers
sports writer

The last time the Roseville Area High School football team made it to the state tournament, it won a pair of home section playoff games before playing a third section game on the road. This year, the Raiders need just the two wins on home turf to qualify for state.
Roseville, despite dropping its final game of the regular season last Wednesday to Mounds View, received the No. 2 seed in Section 4 of Class 6A and opens the post season Friday at home against seventh-seeded Woodbury. A victory over the Royals guarantees the Raiders a second home playoff game on Nov. 1 with the winner that night advancing to the state tournament.

If Roseville wants to make its third state-tournament appearance in school history this year, it will need to shore up a defense that, while stout most of the season, got plowed over by Mounds View last week. The Mustangs rolled up 528 yards of total offense in a wild, 50-47 victory.

“We just couldn’t come up with a stop defensively,” said Roseville head coach Chris Simdorn. “It wasn’t a complicated offense and we just weren’t able to hold the front and our backers weren’t able to fill the holes. They just wore us down up front on defense.”

Roseville entered the game having lost its last 10 games against Mounds View and appeared to be ready to put an end to that streak. Also on the line was a share of the Suburban East Conference championship, which would’ve been Roseville’s first.

The Raiders’ offense did its share by putting up seven touchdowns and amassing 530 yards of total offense. Roseville got it done through the air and on the ground. Senior quarterback Jacques Perra threw for 356 yards and five touchdowns to go with 174 rushing yards by five different rushers.

Jesper Horsted caught 11 passes for 158 yards and three touchdowns while Tommy Arcand and Jorden Gannon also caught TD passes. On the ground, Matthew Peckham and Perra scored touchdowns.

“We just can’t score that many points and lose football games,” said Simdorn.

For Mounds View, the majority of its offense came from its rushing game. The Mustangs ran for 412 yards and six touchdowns. Matt Hunt was a huge factor as he rushed for 216 yards and scored six times. The Mustangs threw the ball just 12 times but one of those throws resulted in the winning touchdown with 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

“Even against some of the other teams we didn’t get gashed like we did tonight,” Simdorn said. “Sure we gave up some big plays here and there but it was seven, eight, 10 (yards) a pop on simple dives and stuff.”

With the post-season looming, Simdorn and his staff face the task of getting the team to put the loss out of their minds and get ready for the playoffs.

“The tough part is just to get the kids to understand that we’ve got a lot of football left,” said Simdorn. “We don’t want this to be a hangover in the post-season. Hopefully we can use it to motivate us to work a little harder, pay attention to all those little details and make a difference in the next game.”

One thing that helps is the change in the playoff schedule that was implemented for the first time last year with the advent of the new 6A class. In the past, the first game of the playoffs would have been Tuesday, just six games after the last game of the regular season. With 32 teams in 6A, only five rounds of games are needed to crown a state champion so the first round is pushed back to Friday.

Simdorn likes the new format.

“It does help teams get healthy and get prepared,” said Simdorn. “I didn’t like (the old way) because it seemed the most important part of your season, the playoffs, were squeezed into a short period. So now you have time to prepare.”

Roseville is preparing for a familiar team in Woodbury. The Raiders faced Woodbury in their homecoming game and came away with a 48-7 victory.

Things could’ve turned out much differently in terms of playoff opponent had the coaches vote gone another way. Simdorn didn’t know what to expect going into the seed meeting last Friday.

“The thing is how the section plays out,” Simdorn said. “Now you have three of us tied. We beat Cretin, Cretin beat Mounds View and Mounds View beat us. How we’re going to figure that out, who’s going to get the two, who’s going to get the four, it’ll be very interesting.”

As it turns out, the loss to Mounds View didn’t hurt Roseville. Even if it had pulled out the victory, the best the Raiders were going to get was the No. 2 seed. East Ridge, the SEC champion and a 42-19 winner over Roseville in week two, drew the top seed.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com.

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