The transformation of the Roosevelt football team from doormat to KingCo contender continued in the opener of the Emerald City Kickoff Classic.
A year ago, the Roughriders advanced for the first time since 1995 to the state playoffs, where they were knocked off by Skyline, the eventual champs. On Saturday, they kept the mojo rolling with a 7-0 win over Seattle Prep at Husky Stadium.
At times, the game was as sloppy as the score indicates: There were seven turnovers, 14 penalties, and a grand total of four completed passes. Yet Roosevelt running back Bereket Anshebo shined through the muck, rushing for 150 yards on 22 carries.
He also scored the game’s lone touchdown, a winding 22-yard scamper through the Prep defense midway through the second quarter.
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“This is my dream, man. I never thought I would play at Husky Stadium,” Anshebo said. “My favorite running back is Bishop Sankey. He scored last week, and I wanted to do the same thing at this stadium.”
For Seattle Prep, it was tough sledding all morning against the Roosevelt defense. The Roughriders (1-0) held the Panthers (0-1) to 191 yards and stymied four drives inside the 30-yard line in the second half. Prep’s last gasp came up short with three minutes left, when an attempted trick play on fourth-and-15 was derailed.
It was a frustrating day for both offenses. Roosevelt should have struck again shortly after Anshebo’s touchdown, when Jordan Cearns blocked a Prep punt, which the Roughriders recovered at the 1-yard line. The very next play, however, the Roughriders were hit with a personal-foul penalty, and their eventual 31-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.
All wins count the same, though, and the Roughriders now have six of them in their past seven games dating to last season. That’s led to extra excitement at Roosevelt, where football is no longer just a warm-up for basketball season.
“Kids from school want to come join the football team,” defensive lineman Ian Buie said. “It’s a bigger deal now.”
If Anshebo and the Roughrider defense keep it up, it might get a whole lot bigger.