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Pride on the Line : Football: Roosevelt and Garfield high schools--and their fans--gear up for the 57th East Los Angeles Classic.


Throw away the records and forget the press clippings.

When Garfield and Roosevelt high schools meet in the annual East Los Angeles Classic, bragging rights are at stake.

A capacity crowd of 22,000 is expected at East Los Angeles College on Friday night for the 57th meeting between the schools, with Roosevelt leading the series, 29-21-6. Olympic gold medalist boxer Oscar de la Hoya, a 1991 Garfield graduate, will be the grand marshal.

"This is the game for everyone in East Los Angeles," said Ted Davis, a retired teacher who has been an organizer of the game for 35 years.

For East Los Angeles, the matchup is more than just a game between two local high school football teams, it is a weeklong event.

Reunions, dinners, dances and fund-raisers bring together the community and returning alumni.

But most of all, the game gives people a chance to show their pride in either school.

"You have many families that the only time of the year that they have any problems is when Garfield plays Roosevelt, said Davis, who retired from teaching at Garfield last year. "Every year, there are families that sit on one side of the stadium and switch at halftime. They switch because the husband is from Garfield and the wife is from Roosevelt or vice-versa. This is a game of pride and tradition."

There have been many upsets and spectacular individual performances over the years. In 1961, for instance, Mike Garrett, who went on to become a Heisman Trophy winner at USC, scored six touchdowns for Roosevelt against Garfield.

Two years ago, Garfield entered the game undefeated and was coming off a runner-up 3-A Division championship season. Garfield lost to a previously winless Roosevelt team, 7-0. Last season, Garfield returned the favor in beating the Roughriders, who eventually reached the 3-A Division title game.

This year, Roosevelt enters the game with a 4-1 record after reaching the 3-A Division semifinals last season. Spurred by the passing of junior quarterback Frank Madrid, the Roughriders are coming off two consecutive wins.

Garfield, with a 3-2 record, is led by junior running back Armando Figueroa, who gained more than 1,000 yards last season. The Bulldogs defeated Huntington Park last week.

For financial reasons, this year's Classic could be the last one played at East Los Angeles College. Since the 1984 Summer Olympics, ELAC has charged the schools more to play there because of improvements to its facilities, including installation of artificial turf and new speakers. The two schools are now charged a total of $11,000 to play the game there.

As a result, the schools have been planning to move the game to the Rose Bowl next year.

"We've been having problems for years and we're very upset with how (ELAC has) treated us," Davis said. "They make a lot of money off of us, but yet they do not take us seriously."

East L.A. College officials have maintained that their relationship with the high schools is fine, but declined to comment further on the schools' plan to move to the Rose Bowl.

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