Santa Maria's defense simply did not make enough stops Friday night.
Templeton quarterback Jack Trimble threw for 391 yards and six scores, Tyler Kaschewski had nine receptions for 209 yards and two touchdowns, and the Eagles spoiled the Saints' Homecoming with a 56-40 Ocean League win at Santa Maria's Ralph Baldieviez Stadium.
Besides Trimble's big night throwing the ball, Shane Simonin ran for 119 yards and Templeton's last score, a five-yarder.
"We didn't make enough plays on defense to win the game," said Santa Maria coach Dan Ellington.
"Ultimately, that's my fault. It's my responsibility to put these guys in a position to succeed. That's what I'm supposed to do every week, and it didn't happen tonight."
Templeton (3-5, 2-1 with two regular season games, both league ones, left) stayed in the thick of the race for the inaugural CIF Central Section Ocean League championship. Santa Maria fell to 2-6, 0-3.
Both teams moved to the Central Section from the Southern Section earlier in the year.
Seniors Austin Peinado and Samantha Lopez were crowned Santa Maria's Homecoming King and Homecoming Queen respectively at halftime.
Trimble threw for 156 yards in the first quarter, and the Eagles seemed on the way to a runaway win when the Templeton quarterback connected for three unanswered scores, to three different receivers, in the first 10 minutes,
Kenny Dato got the Saints' offense rolling when he bolted 63 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.
Dato carried the ball 20 times for a total of 145 yards ran for two scores. He was shaken up in the third quarter and missed much of the second half, but he was able to return late in the game.
The Saints took advantage of two Templeton gaffes late in the first half to pull within 35-28 just before intermission.
Kaschewski couldn't get a handle on the ensuing kickoff after a Saints' score, Santa Maria recovered and that set up Dato's four-yard run to make it 28-21.
Michael Avery ran in from four yards out to put Templeton back up by two scores but, with the Eagles pushing for a late first-half score, Kenneth Olpindo intercepted Trimble, the Saints' second pick of the night.
Dominick Martinez cashed in for Santa Maria with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Andres Cuevas with 8.5 seconds left in the half.
The Saints had a big first-half blunder themselves, fumbling the ball away at the Templeton 1 after Rodrigo Rodriguez intercepted Trimble.
Martinez threw touchdown passes of 40 yards to Andres Arredondo and 43 yards to John Rojas in the second half, but it wasn't enough.
The Saints pulled within 35-34 on the Martinez scoring pass to Cuevas, but the snap on the PAT try went awry and the Eagles stopped holder Olpindo as he tried to run in for a two-point conversion.
"The snap was high, and I guess (Olpindo) felt he wouldn't have a chance to get the ball down in time," for the PAT kick, said Ellington.
Templeton shut out Santa Maria 14-0 in the fourth quarter. Simonin salted the game away for the Eagles with his touchdown run with under a minute left.
Santa Maria plays at Morro Bay at 7 p.m. next Friday night. Under Central Section guidelines, any team that does not win a league championship can petition to get into the playoffs, but Ellington feels his team must win both of its remaining regular season games if it wants a chance at a post-season.
"There are 18 teams (vying for 16 playoff spots) in our division, but I told the kids that we needed four wins to go, and I don't think I"m going to change that," Ellington said.