Roseville ready for gridiron bounce back

After suffering through a one-win season a year ago, the Roseville Area High School football team has almost nowhere to go but up. Head coach Chris Simdorn and his players enter the 2016 with optimism and it’s based on more than that.

More than half of the Raiders’ starting 11 on each side of the ball return with significant varsity experience. Coupled with the work they did over the summer and Simdorn is anticipating a turnaround.

“There are definitely higher expectations for sure,” said Simdorn, who is entering his 16th season as head coach at Roseville. “We feel like we’ve had a pretty good off-season.”

Roseville returns five starters on offense and four on defense and there are two or three others on each side who saw extensive playing time last year. There is also a junior class full of players who were a part of the best sophomore team in the conference in 2015.

Another thing that has buoyed Simdorn’s confidence in his team this season is the fact that there are fewer players who will be called on to play both offense and defense.

“We’re hoping, if we can stay healthy, we’ll have fewer kids playing both ways than we’ve had in the past,” Simdorn said. “That has hurt us in the past, especially with linemen. Hopefully that depth is going to allow us to stay a little fresher and stay a little healthier.”

Among Roseville’s top offensive threats is senior wide receiver Levi Brown. Brown has verbally committed to play college football next season at South Dakota State University.

Throwing those passes to Brown is junior quarterback Luke Bouchart, who was on the sophomore last season.

“Luke’s got good size, a good arm and he’s a smart kid,” said Simdorn.

Senior Brian Kray is back to anchor the offensive line at center. Kray missed a good chunk of the season last year after breaking his collarbone in week three against Woodbury.

Other returning starters include Tony Payne, Tamir Beeler, Anthony Weber and Victor Yang. Returning players who weren’t starters but saw plenty of varsity playing time include Donovan Follingstad, Max Sandin and Elijah Rosalez. 

“There is some good experience there,” said Simdorn.

On defense, Roseville returns a couple of starting linebackers and features some speed in the secondary. The defensive line could be young with some sophomores who might figure into the rotation.

“I like our defensive personnel,”Simdorn said. 

Roseville opens the season on Thursday with a home game against Burnsville. The Blaze, which advanced to the state quarterfinals last season, beat Roseville 28-0 in the opener last year.

“They did graduate a handful of good players,” Simdorn said of Burnsville. “They’re a big school with numbers. That’ll be a good test for us out of the blocks.”

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

2016 Roseville Area High School football schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Burnsville 7 p.m.

Sept. 9 at Stillwater 7 p.m.

Sept. 16 vs. Woodbury 7 p.m.

Sept. 23 at Mounds View 7 p.m.

Sept. 30 vs. Forest Lake 7 p.m.

Oct. 7 at Cretin-Derham Hall 7:30 p.m.

Oct. 14 at East Ridge 7 p.m.

Oct. 19 vs. White Bear Lake 7 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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