Roseville senior running back Brendan McMillan dutifully went about his primary role as a blocking fullback last season.
But he relished a chance Thursday to switch from battering ram to featured back.
McMillan carried much of the Raiders' offensive load in a 22-7 victory at Anoka's Goodrich Field. He scored twice and helped the Roseville offense wear down the Tornadoes defense.
"I'm pretty happy, yeah," McMillan said. "We pounded the ball, and that's what we were trying to do."
McMillan, a 5-6, 185-pound senior, fought for extra yards. A veteran offensive line from last year's 7-3 team ensured those struggles took place well beyond the line of scrimmage. He finished with 137 yards on 27 carries.
"I had confidence in our linemen because we got all of them back from last season," McMillan said. "It all starts with them."
Quarterback Sam Peterson threw an 11-yard touchdown to John Briggs. McMillan tacked on two short scoring runs, the second on a fourth-down conversion with 35 seconds left in the first half for a 14-0 lead.
Anoka, meanwhile, struggled to move the ball. The Tornadoes managed just 29 yards in the first half and one first down. Cody Lindenberg scored on a short run in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough to overcome repeated offensive stumbles.
The Tornadoes lost their 12th consecutive game dating to 2016. They were 0-9 last season.
"There was a couple matchups where physically, they were just bigger and stronger," Anoka coach Jeff Buerkle said. "We're not as quick as them, and they're bigger."
Anoka's defense held tough twice in the first half, stopping a 16-play Roseville drive without yielding a point and later stopping the Raiders on downs at the Anoka 18-yard line.
"They didn't quit," Buerkle said. "Their offense wasn't getting big play after big play on us. But we'd make some small mistake and they would take advantage."