For the past few years, East Ridge's Ryan Kim spent his autumns going to football games, not playing in them.
He elected to go out for football in this, his senior year, wanting to make sure he didn't graduate with any regrets. After Friday night, Kim's only regret might have been that he didn't go out for football sooner.
The East Ridge defensive back made the play of his life, intercepting a pass and returning it 90 yards for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. That proved to be the game-winning score as the Raptors celebrated homecoming with a 17-16 victory over previously undefeated Roseville.
"That kid hasn't played since middle school and he comes out in his senior year," said East Ridge coach Dan Fritze. "He's just the best kid, the best teammate. It was just a player making a play. I'm so happy for him."
The score was tied 10-10 when Kim picked off Roseville quarterback Luke Bouchardt deep in East Ridge territory, ending a Raiders' drive that appeared to be headed for a go-ahead score.
"It was just a blur," said Kim, smiling broadly while accepting a constant string of congratulations from teammates, fans and even a Roseville player. "That was the biggest play I've ever had."
Roseville came back and cut the lead to 17-16 with just over a minute to go on an 18-yard pass from Bouchardt to Zach Andrade, but the Raiders failed on the potential game-winning two-point conversion.
At 3-0 and ranked No. 8 in Class 6A, Roseville appeared to have its best chance to end a losing streak to East Ridge that dated to 2010.
But the Raptors asserted themselves in the first half, dominating the line of scrimmage and building a 10-0 halftime lead.
Roseville rallied in the third quarter with a quick 10-0 spurt thanks to a safety and a 5-yard run by Max Sandin, but that was all the offense the mistake-prone Raiders could muster until their final drive.
"We have a lot of guys playing for the first time," Fritze said. "This game can really help us become a solid team. But we're still not there."