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Originally published Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 8:21 PM

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Years of toil pay off for Roosevelt seniors | Football Notebook

The Roughriders' season-opening, 28-0 upset of Seattle Prep was years in the making for senior players at the school.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Roosevelt offensive lineman Mitchell Shepherd and his teammates weren't surprised when they upset then-No. 5 Seattle Prep 28-0 last Friday.

They may have been the only ones. Week 1 of the football season is usually full of surprises, and Roosevelt provided the biggest twist with its shutout of a talented Prep squad.

For Shepherd and the Roughriders' 24 other seniors, the win was three years in the making. During their years in the program, Roosevelt has improved by one win per season, from 2-7 in 2009 to 3-6 in 2010 and 4-5 last year.

"We've been working hard to change the culture and really change the program around, as far as wins and losses, as well as work ethic and the time you put in," Shepherd said. "We feel like this year we have chance to do so."

Roosevelt coach Matt Nelson described the game as "smash mouth" along the lines, where the Roughriders dug in against Prep's running back tandem of Teré Calloway and Charlie Brennan.

"Of course, it's always the running back and defensive back that get their names in the paper," Nelson said. "But if I had to give the game ball out, and I think if they were to do it, too, it would go to our offensive and defensive line."

That group — Shepherd, Adam Dickenson, Connor Baldwin, AJ Shropshire, Wil McKinley, Manny Antolin, Starling Tate and Tate Maider — controlled the line of scrimmage.

Roosevelt plays Friday at 7 p.m. at Memorial Stadium against Kennedy Catholic.

"This was the first step," Shepherd said, "but we're still hungry for more."

QB bounces back

On the second play of his senior season, King's quarterback and BYU commit Billy Green threw the ball right to a sagging Lynden defensive end.

Lynden, which was ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, needed about a minute to turn the interception into seven points, not the way anyone would want to start their final high school season.

Yet more telling is this: Green finished with 270 passing yards and five touchdowns in leading King's to a 42-39 win in the final minutes.

"I loved how he stayed composed after throwing that interception," King's coach Jim Shapiro said. "There were probably six or seven plays we had to execute the old scramble drill where he went back in the pocket, nothing was there and so he scrambled out and made some good choices. The kid worked so hard in the offseason."


John Thompson was instrumental in Bethel's wild 38-35 Week 1 victory over Spanaway Lake. He rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, returned a punt 71 yards for a score, intercepted a pass and returned a kickoff 55 yards to help set up Ryan Smolko's winning, 22-yard field goal with one second left.

• Kentwood's 31-7 victory over Auburn was impressive, considering that 14 players — three starters — were academically ineligible. Coach Rex Norris said all are good this week.

• Federal Way's game Thursday night against Emerald Ridge will be televised by Root Sports. Asked by email about the prime-time coverage, Federal Way coach John Meagher responded, "I need to get a haircut, but other than that I think we are OK with it!"

• It was a tough opening week for the six SPSL 3A teams, which went 1-5. Enumclaw was the lone winner, beating 2A rival White River 22-13 to match its 2011 win total. The Hornets beat Yelm to open the 2011 season, 28-14, then lost eight straight. White River was a 2A playoff team last year.

• Kent-Meridian QB Quincy Carter rushed for 280 yards and two touchdowns (one on an 83-yard burst) in the Royals' 52-21 loss to Tahoma. The Bears countered with 327 passing yards (and three TDs) from Shane Nelson, who also ran for a score.

Times staff reporter Sandy Ringer contributed to this report.

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