The South Gate Aztecs is a youth organization for flag football, tackle football, and cheerleading for kids ages 5 through 13. After 10 weeks of Saturday games, the Aztecs are on their way to playoffs.
This is the first year in which South East hosts the Aztecs’ games on Saturdays.
“We’ve thought of going to South East a couple of years ago, and there [were] just politics that couldn’t make it happen,” said Coach Marcos, the Vice-President for the Aztecs football and softball coach for South East. “This last year, we unfortunately got removed from South Gate High School. They didn’t see that we were fit to be there.”
Out of the 26 years that the South Gate Aztecs have been part of South Gate High School, this is the first time an issue like this came about. In need of a new home, Legacy High School allowed the Aztecs to practice on their campus while South East allowed the Aztecs to have their games on campus.
“I appreciate the administration at Legacy and the administration at South East that have welcomed us to be part of their community,” said Coach Marcos. “I’m glad my youth program was welcomed there with open arms and I’m very grateful for the fact that they allowed us to [go] in there and without any question and [make] sure that we felt comfortable at home.”
Coach Marcos is not the only one who is supportive of the Aztecs’ new home.
Jose Ramirez, a senior in Justice, Law & Service small school, and former Aztec, said, “It feels weird, because they’ve always played at South Gate, but I think it’s better for them to play here at South East because they won’t receive any discrimination by the school.” Ramirez was excited to see the Aztecs at the same school he goes to, but feels that it is something people have to get used to.
In the Aztecs, it is not only about football. The coaches teach them discipline, responsibility, leadership and family values.
“Three teams ended up in the top three, so they had a bye week on the first week [of playoffs],” said Coach Marcos. “We have three teams right now in the second round of the playoffs and one our flag teams in the Super Bowl this weekend.”
Although there are only four teams left in the playoffs, the Aztecs have seven teams. There is the 5 to 6-year-old flag football, two 7 to 8-year-old teams, one tackle football and one flag football, two 9 to 10-year-old, and 12 to 13-year-old tackle football. All of the teams made it into playoffs but only four remain.
“I’ve been here for [about] seven to eight years. It’s been one of our most successful seasons,” said Jose Cuevas, the Coaches Representative for the Aztecs. “To me, it’s always [been] a South ‘All’. Not South East, not South Gate, [but] South ‘All.’”