Key Injuries Stall Templeton Offense

TEMPLETON — High-scoring Templeton High School football was held to its second-lowest point total of the season Friday night at Erb Field. Unfortunately, it came during the quarterfinals of the CIF Central Section Division 4 playoffs and also resulted in a 28-21 season-ending loss to Robert F. Kennedy High School.

The game started fine for the third-seeded Eagles (10-2) but two key injuries in the first half quickly halted one of the state’s top offenses and opened the door for the sixth-seeded Thunderbirds to work their way back into the game with 5-yard gain after 5-yard gain pounding the ball on the ground.

Templeton quarterback Tyler Kaschewski gets tackled by a flock of Thunderbirds

Kennedy received the opening kickoff and got right into their Wing-T offense and methodically moved down the field for a score and a quick 7-0 lead. It was the first time the Eagles had trailed in a game since Sept. 20 but it didn’t last long. 

Templeton quarterback Tyler Kaschewski and the Eagles responded with an 11-play, 80-yard drive punctuated by a 3-yard run by the quarterback tying the game at 7.

Templeton scored on the drive but lost one of its most important pieces in junior guard and defensive linemen Chase Richards, who was helped off the field with an injury to his leg. He did not return to the game. Richards is a two-way player that is key in both the Eagles’ ability to run the ball and stop the run and his loss was felt as the game progressed. 

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Middle linebacker Blayne Twissleman (No. 11) and defensive lineman (No. 77) Arnell Osuna tackle the Kennedy running back.

The Eagles’ second drive looked a lot like their first, also taking 11-plays this time only going 69 yards, and ended with a short Josh Berna TD run putting the Eagles in front 14-7. 

Following another Templeton defensive hold, it started to feel as though this game would go the same way each of their last seven had gone during their winning streak with the offense scoring at will and the defense settling in after the first quarter. 

Kaschewski showcased his talents in what could have been his best touchdown run of the season on the Eagles’ third drive. The junior kept the ball, made an unblocked man in the hole miss without being touched, turned up the sideline, cutback and then turned on the gas outrunning everyone for a 70-yard ESPN top 10 highlights to put his team up 21-7.

Templeton senior Michael Avery sacks the Kennedy quarterback.

Templeton would miss their first pitch responsibility of the night on the next possession which led to a Thunderbird touchdown with less than 2 minutes to go in the first half. 

The Eagles tried to open up their passing game in their 2-minute offense with a series of rollouts but while trying to make a play with almost no time on the clock Kaschewski was wrestled down awkwardly and the stadium fell silent. The junior gingerly walked off the field and into the locker room up 21-14. He played every offensive snap in the second half but was not 100 percent. 

With the THS quarterback hobbled just a bit and down a top offensive lineman, the Eagles’ offense ground to a halt in the second half which allowed the Kennedy running game to wear down the defense who was on the field for twice as many plays as they were in the first half. Kennedy tied the game in the third quarter on a long, slow drive and took the lead in the fourth with another methodical drive. 

It was the first time the Eagles’ offense had been shutout in the second half of a game all season. Kaschewski ended the game with 16 carries for 175 yards and two touchdowns and Berna finished with 14 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Kennedy advanced to play No. 2 Selma in the Division 4 semifinal.