TEMPLETON — For the first time in 309 nights, the lights at Templeton High School turned on for a football game. In small towns, the lights from the local stadiums act almost as a lighthouse, they are the brightest light in the sky and act as a beacon, both bringing people to the stadium and alerting others that football season is here.
As the lights from the stadium shone onto Highway 101 the stands began to fill up, not all the way, but enough. As this was the only football scrimmage that stayed local for any of the North County teams, Atascadero orange, and Paso Robles crimson could be seen speckled throughout the green and white of the Eagles’ fans.
The Eagles welcomed the McFarland Cougars to town and while Templeton may not have won the scrimmage based solely off the score, the Eagles’ faithful should be excited about how well the team played. Head coach Tyler Lane elected to have his projected starters play the first quarter before he began subbing and after 12 minutes of play the home team had a 7-0 lead.
Templeton drove the ball straight down a short field on their opening drive, punching it in on a 1-yard run from Mike Avery. Junior quarterback Zach Logan started for the Eagles and only played the first quarter, finishing 2-for-2 for 23 yards before handing the ball over to senior Jack Trimble, who led the Eagles the rest of the way.
Avery saw the most carries for any of the Templeton running backs, finishing with 10 carries for 44 yards, and also hauled in two catches for 14 yards. Senior Shane Simonin, who saw his carries also come in the first quarter, finished with four carries for 18 yards.
Trimble finished the evening 5-for-12 for 58 yards and one interception and Tyler Ceja and Marino D’alfonso led the way for the receivers. Ceja finished with 34 yards on three receptions and D’alfonso had 33 yards on just two receptions.
Without numbers on their practice jerseys it was hard for even the biggest Eagles’ fans to keep track of who was who, but as a whole, the defense looked stout and rallied to the ball. McFarland did not score in the first quarter and could barely move the ball.
Other than a few long passes that looked more like communication breakdowns more than anything, which is expected in a preseason scrimmage, McFarland had a hard time picking up first downs. Early in the second quarter, the Cougars had the ball inside the Eagles’ five-yard line and were kept out of the end zone on four consecutive tries, turning the ball over on downs and giving Templeton their first goal-line stand of the year.
“The defense looked good, especially our ones,” coach Lane said. “They came out early and played really well. I am excited about this group and what we are doing.”
However, Trimble was sacked in the end zone on the next play for the Eagles’ first safety of the season, too. The game ended after three quarters, and although there was no score on the scoreboard if there was it would have read 15-7 with McFarland as the winners.
“It was a good, positive scrimmage,” coach Lane said following the scrimmage. “It will be a good Monday afternoon to come in and grind through a little bit of tape with the boys and just clean up some little things here and there and I think that shores us up.”
Templeton will kick off their season on Friday, Aug. 24 when they host Aptos, who beat them 58-12 last season