By Shel Segal
With hopes running extremely high for the Mark Keppel High football team as they approached the homecoming game on Friday night, the Aztecs were coldly knocked down to reality as they were stomped on by visiting Bell Gardens High, 56-0, in the Almont League opener.
The loss means the Aztecs still haven’t won a league game since 1999.
Keppel coach Aaron Sepulveda said the team is obviously not happy with the defeat.
“We are extremely disappointed with our performance versus Bell Gardens,” Sepulveday said. “Losing 56-0 is truly a setback. I give credit to Bell Gardens, but we are better than the final score indicated.”
Sepulveda added his team just could not put good plays together in any sustainable fashion.
“Although it seemed as if we were able to compete sporadically, we simply could not sustain a consistent competitive effort. Every time Bell Gardens faced a fourth down situation, we could not make a play to get us off the field.”
Sepulveda also said his team just failed to take the ball away from the Lancers.
“One of the most frustrating aspects of the game was our inability to create turnovers,” he said. “Bell Gardens fumbled the ball five times, and we failed to take the ball away on every turnover opportunity. The bottom line is we got beat thoroughly on both sides of the ball.”
And with four league games remaining in the season, what needs to be done to get on the winning track?
“We have to dig deep and bounce back immediately because losing in this manner is embarrassing for us and thus creates adversity,” Sepulveda said. We must avoid hanging our heads. Montebello represents another powerful opponent (on Oct. 17). We have to play immensely better or our next game will be a repeat of (Friday) night. At this point in the season, we must rely on our mental toughness to fight through the remainder of our season.”