The legendary East L.A. Classic football game between Roosevelt and Garfield is getting a Super Bowl-like halftime performer.
Following a triumphant post-pandemic-restrictions reintroduction in 2021, the schools are planning for a blowout event this season: an Oct. 21 return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and a halftime performance from the Black Eyed Peas.
The price will be $15 for general admission and $12 at presale for students. Parking at the Coliseum is $15. Tickets are available on Ticketmaster.
It’s yet another show of support from rapper will.i.am to Roosevelt High. The Black Eyed Peas frontman grew up in the Estrada Courts housing project in Boyle Heights, and his i.am Angel Foundation, according to its website, “is especially committed to transforming will.i.am’s hometown of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.”
The rapper’s foundation has a collegiate readiness program that “provides social and academic support” to Roosevelt High students and partnered with the Los Angeles Unified School District to start a robotics program last year, according to the foundation’s website.
Garfield coach Lorenzo Hernandez said last fall that longstanding attendance at the Classic had dwindled from about 25,000 to 10,000. With the Black Eyed Peas performing at halftime and the atmosphere of the Coliseum, however, school administrators are hoping to further reinvigorate an annual event that’s been played since 1925. For the Coliseum, the game comes as part of its “Coliseum Forever” celebration, marking 100 years since the venue opened.
The chance to hear “I Gotta Feeling” in person might be incentive enough, but the on-field matchup will carry plenty of intrigue as well. Last year, coming out of a year that devastated both school communities, was a spectacle that ended in a 22-19 Roosevelt win — the Rough Riders’ first Classic victory in a decade.
“I’m going to go into King Taco, I’m going to have myself a burrito, I’m going to wear my ugly yellow shirt and I’m just going to smile at the Garfield fans,” coach Aldo Parral said after last year’s win. “Because you know what, hey, I earned it.”
Momentum appears to have swung in Roosevelt’s favor, which has gone 5-0 to start this season behind a fine-tuned version of its customary double wing rushing attack. Garfield will counter with its own ground game, led by junior Damian Cornejo, who already has scored 10 touchdowns.
Hernandez said: “This is going to be the biggest ever meeting with two teams playing well, an historic venue and the Black Eyed Peas halftime show. All for $15.”
Helen Sanchez, the Classic’s media coordinator, said will.i.am and the Angel Foundation will have a pregame presentation before the varsity game. Roosevelt alum Lynn Cain, a former running back for the Atlanta Falcons and will.i.am.’s uncle, will oversee the pregame coin toss.
The junior varsity game will start at 3:30 p.m. and the varsity game at 7:30 p.m.
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