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PREP FOOTBALL: Keppel looks forward to a new season

  • By Shel Segal

The Mark Keppel High football team finished the 2013 season with a 1-9 record. That’s significant because it was an improvement over 2012 and better than most Keppel teams since the 1970s.
With that said and now in his third year as head coach, Aaron Sepulveda said this year’s squad will be exponentially better.

(In photo: Aztec team leaders  (left to right): Daniel Moreno, Ruben Arauz, Brian Sewell.  -Photo by Shel Segal.

Sepulveda said he just knows the Aztecs are going to pick up some wins this year.
“We feel we’re entering a season where the sky’s the limit,” he said. “We’re very curious to see what the results are going to be with the trajectory of our improvement. We like where we’re headed. We want some tangible results.”
He also said now that he has a trusted group around him in a talented coaching staff, there’s no reason why that can’t translate into wins.
“I have fortified my coaching staff. I’ve added an offensive coordinator,” he said. “I’ve added an offensive line coach who was on San Gabriel’s varsity staff last year. We also have a receivers’ coach who has a great rapport with our kids. We have great chemistry as a coaching staff.”
Joining Sepulveda on the sidelines this year will be Laron Johnson as offensive coordinator, Rudy Gastelum as offensive line coach, Darion Simpson as receivers’ coach, Kymm Snowden as defensive coordinator/strength and conditioning coach and Andrew Marin as assistant coach.
“We feel we have united, not so much with our coaching staff, but with our kids as well,” Sepulveda said. “We just have this great player-coaches relationship with our kids. The discipline has improved. Yet, there doesn’t seem to be that barrier where our players feel like they can’t connect with our coaches.”
Sepulveda said he is hoping the team can build on its lessons learned from his first two seasons.
“Overall, the energy has also been greatly enhanced,” he said. “When I first entered I only had two assistant coaches to try and build a football program. Entering my third year we feel like there have been building blocks that have been laid. This year we’ve put pressure on ourselves … We know what our expectations are in-house. We want to be extremely competitive.”
He added he wants the Aztecs to be fired-up, no matter the score or situation.
“We want to be competitive in every single game we play, regardless if we’re playing a league favorite, a formidable or an opponent that would be common,” he said. “We want to be sure that every game that we engage in is a competitive one.”
Sepulveda said while wins are the goal, not all victories show up as a W.
“Last year, we improved tremendously,” he said. “Two years ago, we were shut out six times. Last year, we were only shut out once. Last year, we fell one point short of winning our homecoming game.”
 (Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . He can be followed via Twitter @segallanded.)

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