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Football and baseball starter looks for a place on a college field

Servite's Aaron Simpson came into this week batting .381 with seven doubles, 15 RBIs and six stolen bases.

Servite’s Aaron Simpson came into this week batting .381 with seven doubles, 15 RBIs and six stolen bases.

(Servite High)

Aaron Simpson of Anaheim Servite is one of those passionate athletes determined to make a difference.

Last fall, playing quarterback, Simpson scrambled 22 yards for a touchdown with six seconds left against San Juan Capistrano JSerra, then completed a two-point conversion pass for a 39-38 victory.

“You could see when he was running he was going to do everything he could not to be stopped,” football Coach Scott Meyer said.

In baseball, Simpson is an outfielder and Servite’s leadoff batter, and he came into this week batting .381 with seven doubles, 15 runs batted in and six stolen bases. He had a home run to start Wednesday’s game against No. 1-ranked Orange Lutheran that Servite won, 2-1, in nine innings.

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“I think he’s got a huge upside,” baseball Coach Shawn Gilbert said.

Despite proving his athletic ability as a starting football and baseball player in the tough Trinity League, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior is still searching for a college program to believe in him. Simpson is taking a trip to Utah on Saturday to talk with the football and baseball coaches about walking on.

“I have to put it on the field and show what the coaches have been missing out on,” Simpson said.

What’s certain is those who have coached or faced Simpson believe in him.

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“I love the kid,” JSerra baseball Coach Brett Kay said. “I don’t even coach him, and he’s a coach’s kid.”

Added Gilbert: “You don’t play for four years in the Trinity League and not be competitive. He just competes every day. He’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

Simpson began last fall as Servite’s backup quarterback and a starting receiver. He caught six passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns in the opener against Fountain Valley. Soon he was the starting quarterback, after an injury to Tyler Lytle. Twice he won games for the Friars with touchdowns in the final minute. Now he’s using his football mentality for baseball as the starting center fielder.

“Playing football you have a lot of mental toughness,” he said. “Going against St. John Bosco, those are some big dudes. It’s helped me prepare for baseball.”

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All Simpson wants is a chance to show what he can do at the college level.

“I think I can really help a team win,” he said.

Isn’t that what every coach wants from a player?

LAUSD steps up

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The Los Angeles Unified School District receives plenty of deserved criticism for some of its silly decisions, but earlier this week the district earned universal praise for committing $9 million to pay for new sports uniforms over the next three years for its thousands of athletes.

The open “secret” that has existed for years was that players and parents were having to spend their own money for uniforms. It was called “fundraising,” and it was probably illegal, because playing sports is supposed to be free. At schools across the Southland, coaches charge “spirit pack fees” that cost hundreds of dollars. It’s questionable whether that’s legal.

The L.A. Unified decision could put pressure on other districts to come up with money to support their sports programs in paying for uniforms. And yes, there are lots of financial needs at schools, from books to clean bathrooms to fixing blacktops.

But if the state education code says playing for a sports team at a public school should be free, then the law must be followed.

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“All students should be able to participate in sports without the added stress of having to pay for uniforms,” Los Angeles Board of Education President Steve Zimmer said.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATSondheimer

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