The Templeton High football team had played sporadic all season, to say the least. And in a season filled with numerous ups and downs, the Eagles hit one of their worst low points of year at the worst time.
The Eagles turned the ball over five times, gave up 42-first half points and fell to Cabrillo 49-14 in the CIF-Southern Section Northwest Division semifinals Saturday. It is the second consecutive season the Eagles have been one game away from the final, and now both trips have ended with losses.
“(Cabrillo) played a damn good game,” said first-year Templeton coach Dan Loney, “They were ready for us. Some things bounced their way and it just wasn’t our night.”
That was apparent from the get-go, as Cabrillo didn’t punt in the first half. Instead, it scored on nearly every possession and punched in the game’s first score of a Isaiah Montes 6-yard touchdown run to take a quick 7-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Eagles (7-6) to respond, as quarterback Alex Elterman connected with wide receiver Tobey Isbell from 73 yards out to tie the score at 7.
“I think we can win every game that we’re in,” Loney said. “And I thought in running that play and being able to get that play, I was hoping that would spark us and get us going. It did, but some things just didn’t go our way.”
After Dan French scored from 4 yards out to put the Conquistadores up by a touchdown, Cabrillo nabbed an interception from Elterman, leading the way for Jeff Aldridge to haul in a 46-yard touchdown pass and give his team a 21-7 lead through one quarter.
The Conquistadores didn’t let up, with Montes scoring from 1 yard and 15 yards out, and T.J. Babauta scoring from 2 yards out in the second quarter to take a 42-7 lead at the break.
“At halftime, coach said, ‘Just come out, play your hardest. It’s for your pride, play like everyone knows you can play,’ ” Elterman said. “We made adjustments at half, but we just continued to make mistakes, little costly mistakes.”
With the Eagles threatening to score with the ball at Cabrillo’s 30-yard line early in the third quarter, the Eagles snapped the ball over Elterman’s head, resulting in the team’s fourth lost fumble.
“That’s the name of the game.” Loney said. “If you turn it over like we did tonight, it’s hard to win.
“You saw at least in that third quarter we can play pretty well.”
It was the only quarter in which the Eagles didn’t allow a score. They would add a touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 31-yard TD run from Weston Coy, but would get no closer down the stretch.
“It didn’t really go as planned, but that second half was just nice knowing we came out and gave it our best. No one really gave up. We played hard,” Elterman said. “ We have a ton of potential, and we are a very young team. We’re going to miss our seniors, but I think we’re going to be a strong team next year.”
That will be a team that will lose 13 seniors to graduation, including starting standouts such as defensive lineman Casey Dakin and Cameron Silzer. But, Loney thinks his team can bounce back next season.
“I definitely want to thank the seniors. The effort they put in this year was a great effort. They stuck by me and I love those guys to death,” Loney said. “We are a young team that can learn from this. We’ll move on.”Elterman finished the game 6 of 11 for 130 yards with an interception and a score. Running back Matt Arace finished with a team-high 76 yards.
CABRILLO 49, TEMPLETON 14
Score by quarters:
Templeton 7 0 0 7—14
Cabrillo 21 21 0 7—49Scoring:
C — Isaiah Montes 6 run (Stephan Dalton kick)
T — Tobey Isbell 73 pass from Alex Elterman (Cameron Silzer kick)
C — Dan French 4 run (Dalton kick)
C — Jeff Aldridge 46 pass from Henry Fienga (Dalton kick)
C — Montes 1 run (Dalton kick)
C — Montes 15 run (Dalton kick)
C — T.J. Babauta 2 run (Dalton kick)
C — Montes 1 run (Dalton kick)
T — Weston Coy 31 run (Silzer kick)
First downs 13 16
Rushes-yards 26-136 45-324
Passing yards 170 64
Passes 8-15-1 3-6-0
Total yards 306 388
Punts-avg. 4-39.5 2-45
Fumbles-lost 4-4 1-1
Penalties-yards 3-15 4-40
RUSHING — Templeton: Matt Arace 14-76, Justin Alvarez 1-7, Silzer 1-6, Coy 4-43, Chris Romero 6-4; Cabrillo: Montes 10-98, Babauta 13-85, Fienga 3-11, Bryce Moses 4-31, French 7-66, Wyatt Esola 2-8, Matt Thomas 2-11, Marshal Larson 1-7, Ryan Badertscher 2-5, Sam Beltran 1-2. PASSING — Templeton: Elterman 6-11-1 130, Coy 1-3-0 15, Andrew Garrettson 1-1-0 25; Cabrillo: Fienga 3-6-0 64.
RUSHING — Templeton: Isbell 1-73, Garrettson 3-44, Silzer 3-28, Coy 1-25; Cabrillo: Montes 2-18, Aldridge 1-46.