By Shel Segal
Despite posting a 1-4 record in preseason, Mark Keppel High football coach Aaron Sepulveda said the team’s success or failure lies in its Almont League season.
And that season starts this Friday night with the homecoming game against visiting Bell Gardens High.
Sepulveda said the team has not lived up to where he thought it would be going into league play, where Keppel has not won a game in 15 years.
“We’re not satisfied with where we’re at,” he said. “We have improved. We’re continuing to improve. But without a doubt we let two games get away from us. I do know that we were hampered by injuries, but we don’t use that as an excuse. We’re disappointed in the fact that we should be 3-2 in our preseason campaign. With that being said we have improved.”
He said the high point of the season was the 50-26 win against Workman High on Sept. 19.
“A couple of weeks ago we did score 50 points and that’s been a transcendent accomplishment of where we’ve been recently,” Sepulveda said. “At the same time we feel that we didn’t do well against Maranatha. They are ranked. And Pasadena Poly is also undefeated. We weren’t disappointed with the results. We feel that we can compete with these teams and get out of it healthy. We’re just not ready as far as our athleticism and where our overall program is to beat teams of that caliber.”
But Sepulveda said that will come soon. Perhaps even this Friday night.
“We need to be able to compete with and defeat teams that in the past we haven’t been able to compete with,” he said. “And with Bell Gardens we know that they are 0-5, but they are also a league favorite … All the teams (Bell Gardens) played in the preseason are upper division teams. We know that they’re not looking at us as relief, as far as coming out and overlooking us. We’re their targets this week and we’re hoping not to cooperate.”
In addition, Sepulveda said the real test for his team will come during Almont League season.
“We have to build some tangible confidence,” he said. “We don’t want to exhibit any false bravado. We want to be confident with our result. We need a transcendent victory and beating Workman was not what I would define as a transcendent victory. That would be, in this case, getting a league victory, which hasn’t been done since 1999. Once we are able to get a victory in league we feel that would propel us to victories in future league games.”