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Prep Notebook: East L.A. Classic renews Roosevelt-Garfield football rivalry

The annual showdown will be an especially busy night for Rough Riders star Gilbert Herrera, who will also reign as homecoming king.

October 24, 2012|Eric Sondheimer
  • Roosevelt's versatile Gilbert Herrera plays running back, safety, cornerback, punts and also is a quarterback.
Roosevelt's versatile Gilbert Herrera plays running back, safety,… (Arturo Torres )

It's time for the annual East Los Angeles Classic matching Garfield against Roosevelt on Friday night at East Los Angeles College. And much attention will be on Roosevelt's versatile Gilbert Herrera.

Herrera has led the Rough Riders to an 8-1 record and 5-0 mark in the Eastern League. Last week, he was chosen homecoming king. This week, he's dealing with all the distractions that come with "Spirit Week."

There's "Superhero Day" on Tuesday.

"I'm wearing a Batman T-shirt," Herrera said.

There's "Pajama Day" on Wednesday.

"I have to look for some pajamas," he said.

There's " 'Grease' Day" on Thursday, when students can dress like the stars from the movie version of the musical.

"I don't know about that one," he said. "I don't know how to dress like that."

Come Friday, he'll know how to dress like a football player and a king.

"I'm always concerned when a football player wants to run for king, but the only one who can handle it is Gilbert," Roosevelt Coach Javier Cid said. "He stays focused on what he has to do."

Herrera plays running back, safety, cornerback, punts and also is a quarterback. When the Rough Riders want to get rough, they hike the ball directly to Herrera, who proceeds to run behind 10 blockers. It has been a very effective play and something Garfield knows it will have to stop.

"He's a talented kid," Garfield Coach Lorenzo Hernandez said. "He has a lot of speed."

Herrera, who has a 3.5 grade-point average, understands the importance of the Roosevelt-Garfield rivalry in the community.

"It's not just about the game," he said. "It's about the whole community coming together. It's a big deal for both schools."

There's a question whether Herrera will be able to participate in pregame homecoming ceremonies because he'll be busy warming up.

It's just another part of the Roosevelt-Garfield drama that will unfold in front of 20,000 fans.

Marmonte ending

The four teams that will make the Pac-5 Division playoffs from the Marmonte League have already been determined. Ventura St. Bonaventure and Westlake Village Westlake will go from the Marmonte League East. Westlake Village Oaks Christian and Moorpark will make it from the Marmonte League West.

The only unknown factor is next week's championship game. St. Bonaventure has earned a spot in the final and will face the winner of Friday's Oaks Christian-Moorpark game on the road Nov. 2.

Putting the foot in football

Kickers continue to have a huge impact.

Kevin Robledo of Westlake has made 19 field goals this season. He's only a sophomore and his total equals the amount made by former Westlake standout Alex Ball in 2011. Ball was selected the nation's top kicker.

Another standout kicker has been Mark Verso of La CaƱada St. Francis. He has made eight of 11 field goals, including two from 48 yards last week against Gardena Serra. He's headed to Stanford to play soccer.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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