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Homecoming turns humbling for Thunder

By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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Casey Lambert left the door open. The Roseville High School running back lost a fumble at Rocklin’s 1-yard line with 6:43 to play. A touchdown would have given the Tigers a 14-point lead. That was what the Thunder had in the first quarter after scoring on two of its first three possessions. As it turned out, Roseville did not need a fifth touchdown. Beau Smith closed the door for the Tigers. Smith intercepted Jimmy Laughrea’s fourth-down pass with 2:43 left to seal Roseville’s 28-21 victory in Rocklin. The Tigers improved to 2-0 in the Sierra Foothill League. The Thunder fell to 1-1. “Jimmy’s a great quarterback,” Smith said as the Tigers celebrated. “I got him one time out of three.” Laughrea threw three touchdown passes, but Smith’s interception was the second for the Tigers. Rocklin running back Brian Macdonald also fumbled at Roseville’s 1-yard line in the first quarter. “They made the plays and we didn’t,” Rocklin head coach Greg Benzel. “This stings.” The Thunder got the ball back three plays after Macdonald’s fumble when linebacker B.J. Roberts intercepted Nick Blaser’s pass. Laughrea’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Olhiser made it 14-0. “They could have put us away,” Smith said. “We fought back.” Roseville responded with an 80-play drive that Blaser capped with a 21-yard scoring pass to Dana Davis. An interception by Rocklin’s Braston Carr led to Laughrea’s 78-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Torretta. Laughrea threw his second interception with 23 seconds left in the first half. Roseville turned the turnover into a touchdown three plays later when Blaser tossed a 15-yard pass to Smith. Blaser connected with Smith again for a 9-yard touchdown with 639 left in the third quarter. Rocklin preserved a one-point lead by blocking Roberto Vasquez’s PAT attempt. In the junior varsity game, Cory Burmester’s interception with 55 seconds to play sealed Rocklin’s 21-14 victory.