Quarterback Patrick Vargas completed 17 of 28 passes for 220 yards, throwing for two touchdowns, as Garfield rallied from a first-quarter deficit to defeat rival Roosevelt, 26-7, in front of more than 25,000 fans at the 74th annual East Los Angeles Classic at East Los Angeles College on Friday night.
Garfield (6-4, 5-1) took the lead for good early in the third quarter when Vargas connected on a 23-yard touchdown pass to receiver Lanny Delgado.
The 5-foot-3 quarterback then padded the Bulldogs' lead with another 23-yard touchdown pass to Delgado on the first play of the fourth quarter. Vargas scored the game's final touchdown on a one-yard run after completing a spectacular, 48-yard pass to tight end Justin Esquivel.
With the victory, Garfield forces a three-way tie for the Eastern League championship between itself, Jordan and Roosevelt (8-2, 5-1).
Jordan will receive the league's top Championship Division playoff seeding based on its victory this season over the Bulldogs.
Garfield held onto the ball most of the game, redeeming itself for two lost fumbles in the first quarter that helped Roosevelt get onto the scoreboard first.
Receiver Alex Ramirez scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass for the Rough Riders on a well-executed screen pass, giving Roosevelt an early, 7-0 lead. After that, Roosevelt struggled to find rhythm on offense until its final possession of the game.
Roosevelt quarterback Jesse Diaz completed 10 of 21 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. However, Garfield limited Roosevelt to less than 40 yards rushing.
Roosevelt leads the all-time series, 39-29-6.