EAST LOS ANGELES, Calif. – To some people, November 1 is just another Friday night. But to two high school football coaches in East Los Angeles, this Friday night is much bigger than most.
“Most of the time the media portrays people of color, specifically Latinos, in a negative light but this football game really brings out the beauty of what can happen when two communities come together,” said Roosevelt head coach Aldo Parral.
For 364 days out of the year Parral and Garfield's head coach, Lorenzo Hernandez, are cut from the same cloth. Both are locals from the surrounding area and both coach at their local high school.
But for one night ever year they become rivals, getting to take part in a special homecoming game known as the East L.A. Football Classic.
“These kids upon arriving, they know, they know why they’re here," Hernandez explained. "They want to play in the East L.A. Classic, they want to play against Roosevelt.”
The 85th edition of the Classic will be played at Weingart Stadium on Friday at 7 p.m. It will take place just one week before the release of a new documentary, highlighting this historical rivalry game.
Every season, fans, alumni, and community members alike crowd the stands — sometimes to the tune of over 20,000 people — all for the chance to claim bragging rights for the next year.
This season, however, the game is of particular importance. While Garfield has been on an almost 10 year tear, Roosevelt also enters this Friday undefeated in league play.
“I think this year is a defining year for us and we’re going to do everything we can to walk away with a 'W', give them a hell of a game," Parral said.
Aside from the on the field antics, the Classic is a unique chance to show their players all of the positives football can bring them.
Every year it serves as unique reminder that when they suit up on for this special Friday night, they won't just be playing for each other, but for their entire community as well.