Much will be at stake for both Garfield and Roosevelt high schools Friday night in their Eastern League football games.
Garfield needs a victory over South Gate to remain in title contention, while Roosevelt takes on a South East team that’s become the favorite to win the league.
Unbeaten South East (5-0, 1-0) took a big step toward winning its first title by holding on to defeat Garfield, 31-28, last Friday on a day in which tragedy struck the South Gate campus.
The Jaguars’ first victory in seven meetings with Garfield came several hours after a female student, Cindi Santana, 17, was fatally stabbed during lunch time in the school courtyard.
South East offensive lineman Jorge Garcia was wounded in the incident while trying to stop the assailant and was sidelined for the game. A school administrator was also injured in the incident.
Emotions were running high at South East even before the incident. Earlier in the week, another South East football player, George Leos, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and is sidelined indefinitely.
South East tailback Robert Lewis wore Leos’ No. 14 and went out and rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries to lead South East to its biggest win since the school opened in 2005. Lewis, who is headed to SMU on a scholarship, ran 36 yards for a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Quarterback Jonathan Santos also had a big night for South East. He was 15 of 23 for 231 yards, including touchdown passes of 49 yards to Christian Quinones and 45 yards to Juan Nevarez.
Garfield, now 0-5, rallied back from a 31-14 deficit in the second half and had a late drive that reached the South East 29-yard line. A series of penalties, however, prevented the Bulldogs from getting any closer.
Despite the loss, Garfield racked up 352 yards of total offense. Running backs Lance Fernandez and Larry Ravelo accounted for most of it. Fernandez rushed for 189 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries and Ravelo had 96 yards and a TD on 15 attempts.
While Garfield faces South Gate (3-2, 0-1) Friday night at Garfield, the Bulldogs will be pulling for Roosevelt to take down South East, which will host the Rough Riders. Garfield and Roosevelt will square off in the East Los Angeles Classic Nov. 4.
The Rough Riders (3-2, 1-0) opened league play by defeating South Gate, 22-14, last Friday.
Roosevelt’s Gilbert Herrera rushed for 210 yards on 18 carries and scored a touchdown to lead the Rough Riders, who rolled up 449 yards of total offense. Running backs Michael Galindo and Anthony Barreto added 49 and 38 yards, respectively.
Quarterback Andony Flores completed nine of 15 passes for 115 yards.