Slow climb for Raiders

Despite averaging fewer than six points per game, the Roseville Area High School football team has been in every game so far this season. Even the season-opening 28-0 loss against Burnsville was close until the Blaze pulled away in the second half.

Roseville head coach Chris Simdorn expressed his frustration following Roseville's 20-7 loss to Mounds View on Friday. His team hasn't been blown out but the offense hasn’t made things easy for itself.

"I feel like we're getting better but we’re taking baby steps, not big steps," Simdorn said. "We're just not good enough to make that many mistakes. I’ll give credit to the other team but I don’t feel like we've been manhandled or dominated."

Simdorn rattled off a number of examples of plays against Mounds View where the Raiders failed to take advantage of an opportunity. Among them were two different sure interceptions where the ball went through the hands of the Roseville defensive back and resulted in Mounds View completions. Both happened on the Mustangs' first scoring drive.

There was also a Roseville fumble in the red zone on the opening drive of the second half. The Raiders had closed out the first half with a nice scoring drive and appeared headed toward a game-tying touchdown early in the third quarter.

"It's almost like they're saying, 'I don’t want to do this the easy way. Let's make this as difficult as we can and see if we can overcome it,'" Simdorn said.

Roseville got back in the red zone only one other time in the second half but that was after Mounds View had bumped its lead up to two scores.

The Mounds View game wasn't the first time that the mistakes have reared their ugly heads. A week earlier against Woodbury, the Raiders punted only once the entire game but came up with only one touchdown. In week two against Stillwater, Roseville outgained the Ponies by 100 yards but again scored only once.

Roseville also outgained Mounds View 283 yards to 239 yards. The difference in penalties was notable as Mounds View committed only three for 20 yards while Roseville drew 10 flags for 78 yards.

"I wish I could explain it," said Simdorn. "I told the kids we've been playing hard and competing. All the coaches have been impressed with the way we play physically and effort they’ve been giving."

One thing that Simdorn noted is that the offense is lacking a playmaker, someone who is able to bust a big gain. Names like Emeche Wells, David Stanley and Jesper Horsted immediately came to mind for Simdorn.

"We don't have the breakaway kid who could take it 70, 80 yards," Simdorn said. "Now we’ve got to get eight, we've got to get five and then we go backwards and we've got to get 10 more. We’ve been missing that big play in our offense."

Roseville's longest play from scrimmage against Mounds View was a 20-yard run by Devin Dykes and it came on the Raiders' only scoring drive. That drive started at the Roseville 30-yard line with 1:27 left in the second quarter and seven plays later quarterback Henry Bensen hit Victor Yang for a 17-yard touchdown.

Neither team's offense was clicking all that much in the game. Three of the four touchdowns scored came in the final four minutes of the second quarter. Mounds View opened the scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run on the drive where Roseville missed on two sure interceptions.

Mounds View added to its lead thanks to a 58-yard punt return that set up a four-yard touchdown run. The Mustangs then put the game away with a three-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

Bensen threw for 213 yards and his most prolific targets were Tyler Olson, who caught seven passes for 76 yards, and Yang, who caught eight for 73 yards. Dykes finished the game with 63 yards on 10 carries.

Roseville goes in search of victory No. 1 again on Friday when it travels to Forest Lake. The Rangers are in the same boat as they have lost all four of their games this year also.

Forest Lake is trying to win for the first time since 2011 and snap a 35-game losing streak. The Rangers most recent triumph was a 43-42 victory over Roseville in week five of 2011.

Forest Lake appears to be a bit more competitive this season. A year ago the Rangers lost their nine games by an average of 29 points while this year their four losses have averaged 20 points. Their scoring average is up four points over last year and their average points given up is down five points.

Concordia Academy

A short touchdown pass in the third quarter gave Concordia Academy a 13-point cushion over St. Agnes in their week-four match-up last Friday but the Beacons were unable to make that lead stand. The Aggies scored the final 20 points of the game to pull out a 26-19 victory.

Darius Lopez had a big game for St. Agnes by scoring all four of the Aggies' touchdowns, which came on runs of three yards or shorter. He scored once in the second quarter on a one-yard run, once in the third quarter on a three-yard run and twice in the fourth on runs of two yards and one yard.

Concordia's offense was a little more diverse as three different Beacons found their way into the end zone. Junior Jordan Osby got the scoring started by running for a five-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

After St. Agnes tied it later in the second quarter, Concordia Academy closed out the first-half scoring with a 42-yard touchdown run from junior Cooper Wood.

Concordia Academy also opened the scoring in the second half on a six-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Adam Maser to junior wide receiver Alex Moldenhauer. That score made it 19-6 in favor of the Beacons but that would be the last of Concordia's points.

The loss, Concordia's second in a row, dropped the Beacons to 2-2 overall. The first loss of the season was a 48-7 defeat at the hands of Minneapolis Henry in week three.

St. Agnes and Henry are a combined 7-1 through four weeks. Henry is unbeaten while St. Agnes is 3-1 with the loss coming against unbeaten SMB (St. Paul Academy/Minnehaha Academy/Blake).

Week five presents a change of pace for Concordia Academy. The Beacons have an extra day to prepare for St. Paul Como Park (0-4) as the game is scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m.

Como Park is still looking for its first victory of the season but showed some toughness last week by staying with Minneapolis Henry. The Patriots beat Como Park 20-14.

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


Rate this article: 
No votes yet
Comment Here