TEMPLETON, Ca. — Templeton Coach Jerry Reynolds posted a sign on a wall in his team's locker room after the third game of the season. It read: "52-0, chew on it a while."
Reynolds was prompted to post the placard after his Eagles were humiliated by Faith Baptist in a nonleague game.
On Friday night, Templeton chewed away at the Faith Baptist defense and came away with a 26-7 victory to capture its third Southern Section Eight-Man football championship in the last seven seasons.
In the process, Templeton (11-1) snapped Faith Baptist's 23-game win streak. It also avenged a 47-30 loss to the Contenders in the final last season.
Reynolds believes the memory of the lopsided loss earlier this season gave an emotional lift to his team.
"When you get beat that bad and the coach puts up a sign like that, you're going to be emotional. And if your team gets another crack at them, that other team is going to be in a lot of trouble."
About 400 people watched Templeton take a 7-0 lead with 25 seconds left in the first half after Troy Ojeda recovered a fumble in the Faith Baptist end zone. The Eagles had the ball on the Faith Baptist 19 yard line when they gave the ball to tailback Mike Arthurs. Arthurs was hit at the 12 and fumbled. The ball squirted through the hands of several players before Ojeda fell on it for the score.
Arthurs, San Luis Obispo County's leading rusher, ran freely through the Faith Baptist line for most of the game.
He gained 257 yards on 44 carries and scored 2 touchdowns. He finished the season with 1,591 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Faith Baptist (11-1) scored on its second play of the fourth quarter--a 34-yard pass from quarterback Allan Moreau to tight end Fernando McLean--closing the margin to 20-7.
But Templeton quarterback Ryan Hall hit Phil James with a 28-yard scoring pass to put the game out of reach.
The Contenders were handicapped with the loss of tailback Kevin Burton, who was expelled recently for disciplinary reasons. In eight games, Burton had gained 940 yards and scored 27 touchdowns.
Randy Lutz, playing in Burton's place, gained 93 yards on 18 carries.