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High school football game in Conejo Valley has special meaning, as player who died is remembered

Julius Poppinga and his sister, Jasmine.
Jasmine Poppinga
Julius Poppinga and his sister, Jasmine.

Death following asthma attack left family, students, and school staff in shock.

It’s going to be much more than a high school football game in the Conejo Valley, when Westlake High hosts rival Thousand Oaks High School Friday night.

It’s the first game for Westlake since the death of one of its players. Julius Poppinga suffered a severe asthma attack, and died days later at a hospital. The death of the 17-year-old senior left students and staff at the school in shock.

Friday night’s game is taking place as planned. The teen’s father said he would have wanted it that way. The game will include special remembrances of Julius.

The Westlake player was the son of Brady Poppinga, who was a professional football player in the NFL for eight years.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.