‘It’s a big ol’ thing:’ Roosevelt, Garfield football teams square off in East L.A. Classic

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The long-running rivalry for East Los Angeles football supremacy between Roosevelt High School and Garfield High School returns Friday night after a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dubbed by some as the “Super Bowl” of East Los Angeles, the game had drawn as many as 20,000 spectators in the past, but the pandemic forced the rivalry’s first interruption since WWII.

The Roosevelt High School Rough Riders, from Boyle Heights, and the Garfield High School Bulldogs, from East Los Angeles, will play in part to take home the coveted East L.A. Classic Trophy.

But this year’s game also represents a return to normalcy after the pandemic left its devastating marks on the community.

“Our community of East Los Angeles, it was just decimated, decimated,” Lorenzo Hernandez, Garfield’s head coach told the LAist. “It was horrible. It just became phone call after phone call, having to deal with people suffering.”

This year’s East L.A. Classic begins at 7 p.m. at Weingart Stadium on the campus of East L.A. College, located at 1301 Avenida Cesar Chavez.

Tickets will cost $13 and proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test result will be required to attend.

“It’s a big ol’ thing, It’s a big ol’ thing … Everybody’s been doing it for a quite a long time with their families … It’s beautiful. It’s awesome,” Garfield High School graduate Christopher Moran told KTLA.

Quite a long time indeed. The LAist reported the first game between these two schools took place nearly a century ago, in 1925.

Garfield has won the last seven matchups, but anything can happen in this rivalry game.

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