Held St. Bernard to 21 points, shut them out in second half
The Templeton Eagles have been rolling this season and look to be one of the best, if not the best, teams in the county, and anyone that didn’t take them seriously before has no choice anymore after another statement win, this time with their defense and passing game, on Friday night over previously unbeaten St. Bernard.
The Crusaders entered Erb Field with a 5-0 record on the season and an incredibly high-powered offense that was averaging over 42 points per game. Friday’s game, Oct. 4, was supposed to be a shootout, but no one told the Templeton defense who shut out St. Bernard in the second half and forced three turnovers throughout the game on the way to a 49-21 victory.
“Our coaches prepared us very well in practice and our offense and defense just really stepped up,” senior lineman Arnell Osuna said following the game. “We just really had to focus up and do what we were coached to do the entire week and as you could see in the second half that is what we did.”
The Eagles defense looked fantastic on Friday and except for one turnover and one busted coverage the St. Bernard offense might not have scored. The Eagles kicked off their domination early and their squeeze on the opposing offense only tightened as the game went on.
Marino D’alfonso started it by intercepting St. Bernard quarterback Will Omey in the back of the endzone on the opening drive. The Eagles did not capitalize on the turnover as the offense went three-and-out setting up the Crusaders in plus territory as they started their next drive on the Eagle 43-yard line.
The Crusaders are a team known to take risks and embrace the more analytical side of football by going for it on fourth down nearly every time unless they are inside their 20-yard line and also like to roll the dice on onside kicks to maximize the opportunities for their offense but on Friday, fourth down was not their friend.
After their opening drive interception, the Crusaders’ offense went for it on fourth down on their second possession from the Eagle 24 and dropped the would-be conversion giving the ball back to Templeton.
St. Bernard entered the game daring Tyler Kashchewski and company to put the ball in the air and they happily obliged with a 71-yard touchdown to D’alfonso following the turnover on downs. When the Crusaders packed the box, Kashchewski took to the air often finding his favorite target, D’alfonso, who finished the evening with six catches for 151 yards and a touchdown.
“It feels amazing to have a couple receivers that I trust outside,” Kaschewski said after the game. “Robby [Doty], Ryan [Doty], Jaron [Blank], Marino, I mean I trust all of them.”
The Crusaders put together one good drive in the first half following a Templeton turnover on downs that lasted nearly 20 plays and gave them the lead because the Eagles missed their extra point try, but the lead was brief.
St. Bernard came out following their score without safeties anywhere in sight as their deepest player had his heels only seven yards from the line of scrimmage, daring Kaschewski to pass and again he hit D’alfonso, this time for 33 yards which set up Joshua Berna for a short touchdown run a few plays later.
The lone mistake the Eagles defense made all night came on the final possession of the first half and leading 14-7. As time was running out Omey hooked up with his favorite target in Lane Thrap on a receiver screen who made one man miss, cut across the field and ran it into the endzone from 48-yards away as the horn went off.
From that point on the only points for the Crusaders came off a scoop-and-score fumble and the Eagles outscored them 28-7 in the second half.
“Other than that one screen, from the middle of the second quarter on I thought we played really well in the game defensively and in the second half our offensive line just took the game over,” THS coach Don Crow said following the game.
With an offense that is averaging more than 44 points through six games the Eagles don’t need their defense to be the 1985 Chicago Bears to win, they just need them to be opportunistic. The Templeton front four of Chase Richards, Mason Barbour, Michael Avery and Osuna wreaked havoc in the backfield on Friday effectively neutralizing the running threat of Omey and making him erratic which led to two Jacob Emanuelson interceptions.
The Templeton Eagles are currently the second-ranked team in Division 4 of the Central Section according to Maxpreps.com only trailing Fresno-Washington Union and with an easy league schedule starting next week, the Eagles could find themselves as the top 1 seed come playoff time.
Those who haven’t seen this Eagles team perform yet will have plenty of opportunities going forward as three of their final four games are at home as they enter Ocean League play as the unquestioned favorite over Santa Maria, Morro Bay and Mission Prep.