Templeton looks to fill holes from 14 graduated seniors
TEMPLETON — The Templeton High School boys soccer team is coming into this season as the reigning Ocean League champions, fresh off its best season in more than a decade. The Eagles face an uphill battle this season as THS graduated 14 seniors off of a 17-win team from a year ago.
The Eagles graduated all three of their captains, Charlie Raine, Nathan Lebens and Sam Alsup. Lebens was also the team’s leading scorer. Templeton also lost both of their excellent goalkeepers, Branton Fouquet and Dan Marshall.
While the Eagles did lose more than 60 percent of their roster from a year ago, they return two starters, one up front and one in the back end, Rusty Cohen and Tom Onings. Both seniors were selected as captains for this season along with junior Abraham Glossner, and look to lead their young teammates when Ocean League play begins next week.
Cohen was third on the team in scoring last year with seven goals and is the focal point of the Templeton offense. Through four games, Onings has become the vocal leader in the back.
“It’s a young team,” said THS coach Dale Wiggins. “We lost 14 seniors last year, so it is a different dynamic of a team and we are figuring out the pieces. Right now, it is a bunch of kids that need to learn to play together. I wouldn’t say it is like starting at square one, but, you know, it is a developmental year.”
Templeton is off to a slow start to the season at 0-4, but that has not discouraged the team or coach Wiggins. Their non-league schedule included some of the top teams in the Mountain League, like the SLO Tigers, Arroyo Grande Eagles and Paso Robles Bearcats.
While the Eagles would certainly like a win in their first four contests, most, if not all, Ocean League teams have started slow since the Central Coast moved into the Central Section. The move resulted in two new leagues — Ocean and Mountain — being formed based on the size of the schools. This leaves the smaller Ocean League filling their non-league schedule with games against Mountain League schools or traveling to the Valley for games.
Templeton’s schedule begins to lighten up after this weekend, but they will open their league slate with a huge road game at Atascadero, who they beat out for the league title a year ago and looks to be one of the top teams this year.
In terms of playing style, the Eagles are searching for an identity. They try to adapt their game plan depending on the team that is in front of them.
“I think it depends on who we are playing,” Wiggins said. “The thing with the Ocean League is that every school is different, so we kind of go at each school differently. Some we can be very offensive and some we have to play more defensively. I think it will be a mix of both and like I said earlier, we are still just figuring out the pieces.”
The Eagles’ next home game will be on Thursday night as they welcome the Nipomo Titans in to begin the defense of their Ocean League crown.