Kaschewski, Berna, lead prolific ground attack

TEMPLETON — The Friday Night Lights made their long-awaited return to the Central Coast this weekend as all three North County teams were suited up and playing in their season openers. The Templeton Eagles and Paso Robles Bearcats were able to start their seasons at home in front of small smatterings of fans while Atascadero traveled to Arroyo Grande in a last-minute matchup against the Eagles.

Templeton enters this season as new members of the Mountain League after they cruised through the Ocean League in 2019, earning their first league championship since 2005. Not only did the Eagles roll through the Ocean League with an undefeated record, but they also did it with juniors as their two top playmakers in quarterback Tyler Kaschewski and running back Josh Berna. This spring season, Kaschewski and Berna are once again side-by-side in the backfield and are already giving defensive coordinators nightmares as they combined for over 300 yards rushing and five touchdowns on Friday night.

The Eagles picked up offensively right where they left off a year ago, scoring points on each of their four first-half drives. While the Eagles are capable of long, sustained drives, it is not often they have to, as was the case against Wasco. Templeton first got on the board thanks to a 15-yard scamper from Kaschewski, who simply bounced the ball outside and was too fast and elusive for the Tiger defense.

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THS Cheerleaders at the first football game of the season after a year.
Photos by Rick Evans

On the next drive, on only the second play, Berna took the handoff, stuck his foot in the ground, and sped straight through the heart of the Wasco defense for an untouched 37-yard touchdown run, and the Eagles were off. With their third drive of the evening, the Eagles decided to take to the air. Kaschewski zipped a bubble screen out to Kale Loppnow, who outran everyone to the pylon but was somehow called down at the one-yard line. Berna would punch it in on the next play, and Templeton was up three scores before eventually tacking on an additional three to go into halftime up 25-0.

After a nearly perfect first half, the Eagles stumbled a bit in the second half as Wasco took to the air in desperation. Templeton, who is very young on the outsides of both their offense and defense, gave up some explosive plays but gained some much-needed experience as they will face passing offenses in the Mountain League, most notably, St. Joseph.

“I loved how hard we played. They have never been a throwing team, that is the most they have ever thrown, and we have never seen them do a lot of that,” Templeton head football coach Don Crow told the Atascadero News after the game. “All of our receivers and DB’s [defensive backs] are new. We have some sophomores playing, so there is a lot of baptism under fire tonight, but the key is, when we watch film, do we get better?”

When the final horn sounded, the Eagles walked away with a 39-22 victory and some valuable lessons to build on. Kaschewski finished the game with 164 rushing yards, and three touchdowns on 20 carries, barely outgaining his running mate Berna who ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries.

This Friday, Templeton will play one more tune-up game before entering their brutal Mountain League schedule against a familiar opponent, Morro Bay. Due to COVID-19 complications with the Righetti football team, Templeton was forced to reschedule their game with the Warriors and now host Righetti on Apr. 30 in their final game.