By Damien Guzman
The Garfield Bulldogs dominated the East Los Angeles Classic pummeling their arch-rival school Roosevelt Rough Riders 42-7 Nov. 7 at Weingart Stadium.
Garfield junior linebacker Joseph Silva, who leads the Bulldogs in tackles according to the Los Angeles Times, set the tone on the first play of the game.
The Bulldogs kicked off the ball to start off the 2014 Classic and Silva ignited the crowd. He laid a huge hit on offense that got the Garfield sidelines jumping up in excitement while the crowd went crazy.
“I just love to hit so I look for it. I’m hungry for every single opportunity I have,” Silva said.
Silva ended the game with 11 total tackles. Garfield replaced starters when they led 33-0.
Nike is currently filming a documentary about the Bulldogs, which Silva is featured because of his style of play and hitting that separates him from other defenders. Teammates refer to Silva as Spike from the movie Little Giants because the character in the movie was a tough hitter.
The Nike crew walked with him on his every move, from the field to the stands as he met his family after the huge win.
“My motivation every morning is my daughter and family. It was one of the best feelings looking into the stands and seeing my family sitting among 15,000 fans,” Silva said.
Roosevelt scored their only touchdown in the third quarter, a 61-yard touchdown run by wide receiver Andrew Gallegos who lined up at the quarterback position.
“After the game we talked to our boys and told them to keep their heads up especially our seniors who had tears in their eyes,” Roosevelt Offensive Line Coach Joseph Huguez said.
An announcement was made on the big screen by the Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, After the first quarter, wishing luck to both teams, which got a huge cheer from both sides.
Garfield quarterback Stevie Williams rushed for two touchdowns and throwing for three more.
“When I scored those two touchdowns…all I can do is thank my team for blocking, I couldn’t do it without them,” Williams said.
Williams threw a 58-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Deion Williams in the first quarter. He also threw two other 29-yard touchdown passes, one to wide receiver Chris Alexander and another to wide receiver Cleo Session Jr.
“Maybe if we put more pressure on the quarterback they wouldn’t have scored so much on the passes,” Roosevelt defensive end Anthony Guerrero said.
Williams barely felt the pressure from Roosevelt’s defense, which showed on the field when he played the game with little resistance from the Rough Riders. WIlliams entertained with his offensive skills and gave the crowd plenty to cheer about.
“Right before the game my mind was set to win the game and put on a show for the fans and that’s what we did as a team,” Williams said.
Garfield from led 13-0 in the first quarter and ended the half up 33-0, which left Roosevelt fans with little to cheer about. That all changed during the halftime performances that were very entertaining.
“Us Riders never give up even if we our down and losing,” Guerrero said.
As the performances started youth football kids were let on the field so that they can get a taste of the East LA Classic environment.
Although the Classic is mainly about the football game; the bands, cheerleaders, drill teams and other school groups competed during halftime. Both crowds cheered loud for their schools and booed loudly after their rival schools performed.
The loudest crowd reactions came when both schools sent their drum majors to the middle of the field. Both Roosevelt drum majors caught their batons which ignited the Roosevelt crowd.
The lone Garfield drum major caught her maze, which triggered the Garfield side to scream out cheers.
The Roosevelt Marching Band played the song “Hey Jude” by the legendary Beatles. The performance electrified the Rough Rider fans as they waved their hands from left to right and some even pointed lights in the air.
The cheers were loud after the performance.
Near the end of the game, leadership students from both schools traditionally run a full lap around the track.
When the Roosevelt students ran by the Garfield stands, Bulldog fanes a launched water bottles at the Roosevelt students and shouted out disrespectful comments.
At one point, the Garfield fans threw around a teddy bear that represented the Rough Riders. Some people took swipes at it.
Both Roosevelt and Garfield each advanced to the Los Angeles City Section playoffs 7 p.m. on Nov. 14.
No. 16-seeded Roosevelt plays at No.1 San Pedro High School while No.2-seeded Garfield hosts No.15 El Camino Real Charter High School.