A new season can mean a lot of things but for the Desert Mirage Rams, it means a new opportunity to prove themselves to the rest of the Coachella Valley. The Rams are looking to kick off the season in a big way this time around.
It all starts from the top with Head Coach Jesus ‘Flip’ Felipe who’s leading the charge towards history.
“Our boys have been working real hard. I have nothing but good things to say about this year’s squad. A lot of improvements and a lot of seniors for the first time.”
Senior Wide Receiver, Matthew Saucedo admits it’s been a tough road.
“Just throughout the years we;ve been beat down. And I feel like this year — it’s way different, like the whole vibe is different. Everybody’s looking forward for more.”
They may be going against the odds but they aren’t counting themselves out.
Senior Quarterback Arturo Alvarado says it’s his last year so he and the team all want to leave it all out on the field.
“I know we’ll put out some wins because we got to get a whole new squad this year and feeling pretty confident about this year.”
Everyone’s putting in work to show they deserve a spot on the team. But the Rams family are also making sure everyone feels welcome and getting the support to grind alongside each other.
Jasmin Pacheco is the starting kicker and punter for the Rams this year and also the only girl suiting up in a Rams jersey. She’s in her final year and Pacheco says, the guys have made it memorable for her.
“It’s really funny because there’s people that don’t like girls on the team. But I mean these guys have proved me that they want me on the team.”
And Coach Felipe says, that’s what it’s all about.
“To me football is another family. You can come out here, you can be yourselves. Coming in and playing in the game is just a bonus. So they get to come out here and I see them like again I see them as second kids or more– all as my children. Honestly the best part is just coming out here vibing and teaching them the game.
Pacheco says the team’s there for her around the clock.
“Like when I need help they they’re always there. Like when I want to go practice at the park you know, I always call them and they’d be like, oh, let’s go.”
And the man leading the team is homegrown. Coach Flip has been with the program for years and is entering his second as head coach. But he’s even been in their shoes as well, so to him, it’s much more than just football.
“It’s just coaching where you came from, it’s something different. I know the struggle they go through, I’ve lived the life they live here but it’s just something we relate to on a deeper level than football.”
Saucedo says, “he’s just always on top of us like trying to make us better. He pushes us to grades, being better people, and just every aspect of our lives.
So what’s one big goal the Rams have their eyes set on this season?
Coach Felipe keeps it simple, playoffs.
“It’s never been done in our history. But like I said we got to start somewhere and I think this is the year.”
The Rams kick their season off on the road against the Calipatria Hornets.