(East Los Angeles, CA) November 8, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The day that everyone knew would come, finally arrived for an October 29, 2021 game date of the 86th Edition of the “East L.A. Classic.” Due to the dreaded and monster COVID-19 pandemic that has raged across and ravaged our nation since March, 2020, a decision was made to postpone the East L.A. Classic last Fall. Therefore, the CIF/L.A. City Section record book will reflect yet another break in the long, traditional, and rivaled battle between Theodore Roosevelt and James A. Garfield High Schools. However, it didn’t take long for the rivalry to become re-heated and re-emphasized for our communities to come out and support it in all ways positive. Here is our account of the 86th East L.A. Classic.
(Game Summary): The scoring started in the 1st quarter after #7/DE/Joel Morales, Rough Riders, recovered a Garfield fumble at their 31 yard line. Several plays later at the (7:26) mark it was #2/Julian Quezada who scored on a lightning quick (65) yard run a “toss-left” from the double wing formation that put the Riders out in front. The PAT was unsuccessful. Riders 6, Bulldogs 0.
Then at the (5:37) mark of the 2nd period, Quezada scored his 2nd TD on short run. Coach Parral decided to go for 2 points, and called #5/WB Jared Andrade to do the work, and he did. The score was now, Riders 14, Bulldogs 0. Subsequently, after a great mid-field interception by #6/CB/Cristian Beltran, the Riders capitalized once more on the excellent running skills of Quezada, while giving much glory to his O-line for all of their hard work. Andrade answered again for his second 2-point conversion, adding on another 8 points, making the score now, Riders 22, Bulldogs 0.
HALFTIME SCORE): Roosevelt 22 Garfield 0
(3rd Quarter): At (6:59) left, the Bulldogs put up their first TD via a (32) yard pass from #8/QB/Damian Cabrera to #10/Jayden Barnes who ran a slant pattern and was a wide open target. There was no other scoring in the period. Meanwhile, the Riders struggled to re-capture their momentum from the first half and ran into a rather long series of “3 & Outs,” giving the Bulldogs their scoring opportunities in the 2nd half of play.
(4th Quarter): At the (8:51) mark, #23/RB/Damian Cornejo, Garfield’s leading rusher, broke loose on a great 14 yard TD scamper up the middle, cutting the lead to (22-12). The 2 point conversion failed. Then the drama blew sky-high when, at the (5:11) mark of the period, #7/QB/Jaison Vargas hooked up on a deep fly pattern to #10/WR/Jayden Barnes. He made an incredible catch in the “1- on-1” coverage, and an even greater escape from being tackled by his defender. He managed to break loose of his tackle and then simply outran the covering safety to the end zone, giving his team a huge momentum boost and a game-changing play to boot. The Point-After kick was good. The score was now Roosevelt 22, Garfield 19.
We used the word drama to describe the electric feeling inside Weingart Stadium and the temperature rose again when Garfield QB/Vargas was intercepted by the Riders #10/SS/Carlos Velasquez, who made a perfect grab of the ball with both feet still in-bounds. With that big defensive play by Velasquez, the Riders stopped the Garfield threat just for the time being. But due to their inability to control ball possession, they surrendered it one last time to the Bulldogs.
The second-to-the-last play of the game was a fly route to Barnes deep in the Eastern end zone. He appeared to have beaten the defender with another miraculous catch, but sprinting over from his Strong Safety position, Velasquez was somehow able to punch the ball out the arms of Barnes and the pass was ruled incomplete. Then with just (:05) seconds left to play, Coach Hernandez sent in his field goal team and asked #16/SR/Justin Vergara to attempt the game-tying field goal. The line-up formation looked good, and the snap was placed correctly, but his kick simply did not gather the necessary lift, power, and trajectory required to split the goalpost from (35) yards out. Game over with the miss wide-left. To see the Roosevelt fans reaction to the decade ending drought, we simply refer you to the visuals on our “play-by-play” coverage of the game.
And, the victory was one that was filled with the team heroics as shown by the Rough Riders big and frontline-core of veteran players, such as seniors— James Cortez, Daniel Butron, Carlos Velasquez, Daniel Cuevas, Ben Salinas, Jimmy Morales, Angel Nolasco, Fredy Perez, Joel Morales, Andrew Oliva, Nicholas Soria, & Daniel Mayorga. Add in the juniors such as Alexander Arroyo, Jared Andrade, Johan Alfaro, Naszer Reed, Alejandro Aguilar Ibarra, Osman Cerezo, Anthony Luna, Jairo Medina, Andy Palacios, Victor Lozano, Julian Zepeda and many, many more who pitched in with their team-mates and delivered one of the biggest wins in the school’s long and storied history, as well as in the traditional rivalry game itself.
Here is what Coach Parral had to say about the Riders winning this year’s game…“This was a classic for the ages. We are proud of the young men who have put in so much time and energy. (Coach Guillen)…Dickey was with us tonight and he would of had it no other way. Our coaching staff prepared the young men so well and it showed throughout the contest.”
(Roosevelt MVP Players of The Game): #2/WB/JR/Julian Quezada 3 TDs/18 points/11-192 yds rushing/17.5 yds. ave/34 yds longest/2 tackles; #10/SS/TE/Carlos Velasquez/12 tackles/1 sack/1 Interception. Special Recognition: #3/Eddie German/SR/9-79 yds/8.8 yds. ave/18 yds longest; #5/JR/Jared Andrade/9-69 yds/7.7 ave/4 points/6 tackles; #8/JR/Johan Alfaro/5-25 yds/5.o yds; #9/JR/Alex Arroyo/4-22 yds/5.4 ave/10 tackles; #1/CB/SR/James Cortez/7 tackles; #11/CB/JR/Naszer Reed/11 tackles. All with (5) tackles; #20/SR/Jimmy Morales; #7/SR/Joel Morales/1 fumble recovery; & #50/JR/Anthony Aguilar Ibarra; #6/JR/Cristian Beltran/1 Interception/4 tackles; #80/SR/Ben Salinas/3 tackles; All with (2) tackles: #34/SR/Julian Zepeda; #55/SR/Daniel Button; #20/SR/Jimmy Morales; 2/JR/Alejandro Aguilar Ibarra; & #78/JR/Anthony Luna (Team Stat): (398) total yards rushing
(Garfield Players of The Game): #7/QB/SR/Jaison Vargas/159 passing yds; #8/QB/SO/Damian Cabrera/126 passing yds; #23/SO/Damian Cornejo/149 yds All-purpose rushing/11-74 yds rushing/11 yds-carry/6.7 ave/20 yds longest/1 TD; #5/SR/Jacob Ramos/7 catches-82 yds/11 yds ave; #10/SO/Jayden Barnes/2 catches-102 yds/51 ave./70 longest/2 TDs/5 tackles; #2/SO/Juju Zamudio/12 tackles; #1/SR/Manuel Mares/6 tackles; All with 5 tackles/#17/SO/Donovan Reyes; #52/SO/Joshua Estrada & (Team Stat): (289) total yards passing
(Of Significance): So here we are in early November, and the 2021 football season is now officially over with nearly all CIF/L.A. City Section teams playing a full (10) game schedule. In stark contrast to the COVID-19 blockage of most sports from last year, 2021 has been quite a remarkable and successful turnaround at that.
Now, the Division I, II, and III, 1st round playoffs have begun. However, the (8) team, Open Division, will start its shorter playoff run this Friday, 11/12, with the Roosevelt kickoff taking place at 7:00 PM. That is where we will find our Roosevelt Rough Riders who drew the 7th seed, and will have to face the #2 seed, the San Pedro Pirates @ San Pedro. The Bulldogs will also play on the road at Banning, the #1 seed. Their kick-off is slated for 7:00 pm.
I hope you have enjoyed our production of this year’s “East L.A. Classic.” Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel and share with your friends and associates who enjoy watching and supporting our high school football teams who are from East L.A. and Beyond. Thanks a million for all of your support.