A never practiced scheme drawn up just last week helped the Templeton High School football team beat an undefeated St. Bernard team Friday night. That, and a quarterback who was scouted on the baseball diamond.
The Eagles beat the Crusaders of Eureka 49-21 after being tied at 14-14 at the half. Templeton overcame two fumbles, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
Complete game by Templeton QB
Quarterback Tyler Kaschewski had two uncharacteristic fumbles, but the junior had possibly his most complete game behind center in his first year at the position. St. Bernard dared him to throw in the first half, which resulted in a 71-yard touchdown to Marino D’alfonso on his first completion of the game.
He and the Eagles took what the defense gave them, and it resulted in the fifth win of the season.
Last year, he was on the receiving end of passes, but was approached by coaches who saw him playing baseball to consider the quarterback position. It took a full year and an off season of work to get ready, but even then, Kaschewski wasn’t sold on the position.
“At first, I didn’t really like it because I liked catching the ball,” Kaschweski said. “But after the first game (against Caruthers), just getting the ball, having the ball every time in my hands, it’s amazing. I love the feeling. I love the pressure.”
He said most of the emphasis was on footwork for roll outs and drop backs, as well as getting familiar with receivers.
Against the Crusaders, Kaschewski had 186 yards through the air, on 10 of 16 passing, including an impressive clock-managing drive to end the first half.
“In the summer, we started throwing, we could see him throwing, and he’s gotten so much better,” Templeton head coach Don Crow said. “When we roll him out, half the time I’m telling him to run it, if he can.”
It’s his ability as a ball carrier that makes him coveted by Templeton coaches, and he showed it in the second half, as an extra blocker in the box helped free him for scoring plays of runs of 48, 15 and 13 yards.
Eagles WR provides added threat
He has already had success throwing the ball this season, with four passing touchdowns and 458 yards entering Friday’s game. But the only game in which he had more than 10 attempts was in the Eagles’ only loss of the season to Liberty, where he was 7 of 13.
Friday’s game was his first with over 10 completions.
Part of his success is in part to D’alfonso, who has superb catch radius and makes plays after the catch.
On the season, D’alfonso now has six touchdowns, 520 yards and over 20 yards per reception on the season.
“(D’alfonso) is special,” Crow said. “We’re going to find him a place to play college football. He might have to go to a small school or a JC to start with. But he can flat out play.”
With Kaschewski’s emergence as a true dual threat, teams will have to pick their poison, either by bringing an extra defender down to stop the run or double covering D’alfonso on the outside.
The offense is based on simple enough principles, but when executed at a high level, like Templeton has been, it’s hard to stop. Teams have already tried to do both, and lost.
Defensive stops St. Bernard offense
The key on defense was a new variant of a formation that Crow had introduced just last week.
A different iteration had been used last week against Santa Ynez to stop their mobile quarterback, but they had to adjust it this week for the high-powered Crusaders offense. Besides seeing it on the white board, the players had never had game reps.
“We lined up in a defense that we had never played before,” Crow said. “We met this weekend, I put it up on the board, we went through it and the kids learned it. And they played the heck out of it tonight.”
D’alfonso picked off Will Omey in the end zone to end the Crusaders opening drive. It set the tone for the rest of the game, one in which St. Bernard came into averaging 48 points.
Apart from one big play to end the first half — a 48-yard screen by Lane Thrup to score as time expired — the Eagles defense was solid.
Unlike the offense, the defense didn’t make any adjustments at halftime. They simply reacted quicker and made open-field tackles.
Jacob Emanuelson had two second half interceptions on deflected passes, and the Crusaders only second-half points came on the fumble return.
Crow pointed to the second half of the game against San Luis Obispo as the turning point for the defense, which had been porous in the passing game leading up to that point.
What’s next for Templeton
Templeton kicks off Ocean League play at Santa Maria (3-3). The Saints are coming off a 56-30 loss to San Luis Obispo.
Other SLO and northern Santa Barbara county scores
Mission Prep 49, Viewpoint 21
Royal 27, Atascadero 13
San Luis Obispo 56, Santa Maria 30
Menlo-Atherton 46, Arroyo Grande 13
St. Joseph 40, Pioneer Valley 0
Paraclete 42, Righetti 7
Dos Pueblos 40, Cabrillo 13
Lompoc 45, Santa Ynez 7