Garfield's Moses Saucedo tackles Roosevelt's Andony Flores… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)
Energized alumni. Fired-up fans. Large crowds. Motivated players. It's rivalry week in high school football, and what a group of games is set for this weekend.
It starts with Thursday night's Coliseum League title decider between Dorsey and host Crenshaw. Then comes the East Los Angeles Classic, with Garfield taking on Roosevelt at East Los Angeles College on Friday night.
Add Santa Ana Mater Dei facing Anaheim Servite at Angel Stadium and Narbonne playing at San Pedro in a Marine League title decider, and you have a perfect storm of rivalry games. And then there's the Serra League title decider between Los Angeles Loyola and host Mission Hills Alemany.
How big are these games?
"You get an earful the whole year," Roosevelt quarterback Andony Flores said of the alumni.
Yes, the alumni wait all season for these showdown games, because they love to talk smack to their friends, especially if they're on the winning side.
The coaches have a different perspective. They feel the pressure to have their teams ready, but they must have their players prepare as if it's just another game, or risk major problems and overlook other opponents.
Those who have participated in a rivalry game, such as Flores, know it's special. There will be more than 20,000 fans at East L.A. College.
"You get chills on your skin," Flores said.
And then you get to face opponents you've known for years.
"It's like street football with refs," he said.
Jake Maulhardt, the 6-foot-7 senior receiver at Camarillo, has reached 100 receptions and counting. He caught 10 passes for 203 yards last week against Oxnard Pacifica, giving him 100 catches for 1,353 yards and 13 touchdowns. He set a state single-game record this season with 28 receptions against Canyon Country Canyon.
Junior Su'a Cravens of Vista Murrieta continues to be one of the most versatile players in Southern California.
Last week against Temecula Great Oak, he had three rushing touchdowns while gaining 94 yards in 10 carries. He also contributed nine tackles at linebacker, including four for losses. It's no wonder his college scholarship offers include USC, UCLA and virtually every school in the Pacific 12 Conference.
Zena Edosomwan, a 6-8 senior basketball player at Studio City Harvard-Westlake, said Monday he remains undecided about his college choice.
He still has one visit remaining, to Washington, which could delay his making a decision before next Wednesday's first day of the early signing period.
USC, Harvard, Texas and California have been pursuing him.