Prep Sports

Garfield to face Roosevelt in 81st East L.A. Classic

EAST LOS ANGELES — Attempting to win its sixth consecutive Eastern League title, Garfield High School plays its two biggest games of the season in the next nine days as the Bulldogs renew their rivalry with Roosevelt Oct. 30 at East Los Angeles College and takes on South Gate Nov. 6 at home.

Garfield has overwhelmed four league opponents — Jordan (49-0), Bell (48-6), Huntington Park (58-15) and South East (25-0) — in rolling to a 4-0 league record. The Bulldogs, who are 6-2 overall, and South Gate (7-1, 4-0) are tied for first place.

Roosevelt (4-4) is next in the standings at 2-2 in league and the Rough Riders would love nothing more than to defeat Garfield and jeopardize the Bulldogs chances of winning another championship.

Isaiah Zepeda, shown here playing against Huntington Park, will attempt to help lead Roosevelt to an upset win over Garfield Friday night in the East Los Angeles Classic. (Photo bu Juan Lainez)
Isaiah Zepeda, shown here playing against Huntington Park, will attempt to help lead Roosevelt to an upset win over Garfield Friday night in the East Los Angeles Classic.
(Photo bu Juan Lainez)

But Roosevelt won’t expect the Bulldogs to be looking past them since this week’s showdown isn’t just another Eastern League game. It’s the East Los Angeles Classic, as Garfield and Roosevelt meet for the 81st time in their storied rivalry that dates back to 1925, when Garfield opened its doors.

Although Roosevelt leads the all-time series, 39-34-6, Garfield has dominated the rivalry recently, winning the last five meetings and eight of the last 11.

Garfield rolled to a 42-14 victory before 15,000 at ELAC last season and the schools are hoping to see the attendance Oct. 30 increase back to the 20,000 it drew for more than four decades.

The game is known for generations of families that have played in the game, including Garfield quarterback Adam Polanco, whose grandfather Richard Polanco, served as the California State Senate majority leader and also is a former member of the state Assembly.

Polanco’s father, Henry, played running back and helped lead Garfield to a 16-13 upset win in 1999.

Polanco has thrown 10 touchdown passes and has only two interceptions this season. The sophomore has completed 44 of 82 passes for 628 yards and has rushed for 159 more.

Garfield is also led by two-way standout Domoinique Snelson, a senior who plays running back and linebacker, and wide receivers Jordan Palmer and Marquis Williams.

Linebacker Jacquan Shaw has a team-leading 44 total tackles and safety Chris Castro has 31.

Roosevelt is led by versatile quarterback Andrew Gallegos, who is a threat to run or pass, and running backs Francisco Valencia and Ignacio Vazquez, and multi-talented sophomore Isaiah Zepeda. Gallegos’ top targets are wide receivers Justin Avila and Daniel Alvarado.

The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m.