Jordan Bernal has waited a long time for this.
No more waiting on the sideline. No more looking over his shoulder. The Templeton quarterback is the man for the Eagles. And he showed why Friday night.
The senior lefty had his first break-out game as the full-time starter in a lopsided win over San Luis Obispo after sharing time with the now graduated Gunnar Griffin last season.
Bernal led the Eagles to a 60-21 win over the Tigers and contributed six of the nine Templeton touchdowns.
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“It’s a great feeling to own the team now,” Bernal said after the win.
Bernal showed he is a true dual threat early on against San Luis Obispo. In the first half, Bernal showed off his big arm with a pair of 55-yard passes that hit wide receiver Matteo D’Alfonso in stride. He also ran for 41 yards in the half, including a 10-yard touchdown run. He finished the game 8 of 19 for 267 yards and four touchdowns passing. On the ground, he had 55 yards and two touchdowns on six carries.
“4-0, just keep going,” Bernal said.
Heading into Friday’s game, Bernal’s numbers running the Eagles up-tempo offense weren’t eye-popping. Through the first three games he threw for 361 yards on 54 attempts and had four touchdowns. The biggest difference: Bernal threw an interception in each win for the Eagles, but he threw no picks Friday night.
“We ask him to get better every week, to be critical about your play week in and week out,” Templeton coach Dan Loney said. “He’s getting better every week, and he’s making big jumps in his play.”
But Bernal doesn’t have to do it alone. Running back Michael Capelli is quickly showing that he’s capable of being a workhorse on the ground. Capelli had 261 yards rushing and another 64 on a screen pass that went the distance.
Add to the mix two big receivers on the outside in Jaret Butz and Matteo D’Alfonso and the Eagles have a balanced offense that will give Northern League teams fits.
“They are performing great” Bernal said of his top two receivers. “They always stay late after practice and put in work.”
Loney said D’Alfonso, a senior, is learning as he goes.
“He hasn’t played since his freshman year so it’s kind of like a sophomore playing in the sense that he’s learning how his body works and getting used to it out on the field,” Loney said. “We expect him to keep getting better and be one of those key guys to go to.”
If Bernal continues to gain confidence behind the wheel, and the rest of the offense matures, the Eagles could be favorites to win the Northern League.