Torres Family Shines in East LA Classic Alumni Game
It wasn't exactly "The Classic," but it was a classic evening for Garfield alum Steven Torres and his family.
In the first Annual East LA Classic Alumni Game presented by Alumni Football USA, Torres ran for two touchdowns as the Garfield alum toppled their Roosevelt counterparts, 19-12, in front of a crowd of about 5,000 Saturday night at Weingart Stadium.
Roughridrer and Bulldog fans alike filed into the stadium as the music blasted and the sun set on the East LA College campus. Once the fans snuggled into their seats, it was Torres who stole the show.
"It's like LeBron (James), we're all witnesses to his play," Max Torres (class of '99), said of his younger brother, Steven (class of '07). "That's what we're here for."
Younger bro set the tone early for the Bulldogs with a 45-yard touchdown run in the 1st quarter to give Garfield a 6-0 lead. Steven started up the right sideline and appeared to have nowhere to go before dashing towards the middle of the field and scurrying to the end zone.
In fact, the first two times Steven touched the ball he scored. In the second quarter, with the Bulldogs up 12-0 and threatening on the Roosevelt 31-yard line, the ball was snapped well over the head of quarterback Geovanni Flores (class of '07) and bounced all the way back to the Garfield 35-yard line. Steven, who was surrounded by the cardinal uniforms of the Rouhgriders, recovered the poor snap and continued his fantastic night. First he stopped, then he started and darted to his left and used a huge block near the sideline enabling Torres to cutback to his right and find the end zone after 65 yards of pure wizardry to give the Bulldogs a 19-0 halftime lead.
"When they opened those big holes for me it was easy," says Steven, the consummate team player.
That run all but summed up the way the evening was going for Roosevelt. The Roughriders were late getting on the field because of equipment issues that delayed kickoff for 37 minutes, and when the game did finally start, they were sloppy early, turning the ball over twice in their first five plays from scrimmage, once on downs, and once when Jesse Juarez (class of '06) picked off a Jesse Diaz (class of '09) pass. Diaz completed two of five passes in the first half for 13 yards with two interceptions.
As for the Torres family, it was truly a family affair.
Middle brother Manuel (class of '03) finished the game with two sacks and a forced fumble. Steven finished the game with 84 yards on the ground and two touchdowns on just three carries. He also had one catch for 12 yards, prompting Jared Hargrove of Alumni Football USA, to tell the 21-year-old at the conclusion of the game "you should still be playing somewhere."
Max joked, "I was a little jealous because I couldn't pull nothing off like that."
The oldest brother later admitted, "I haven't seen him do anything like that in a long time and I was really impressed with him."
"It's a privilege [and] one of the best honors for me to be able to play with two of my brothers, [and] to play with people I never got to play with that I grew up idolizing," says Steven.
It was redemption for Max and Manuel, who both suffered losses to Roosevelt during their high school days while Steven kept alive his streak of never losing to the Roughriders.
Roosevelt made things interesting when Cesar Guerrero (class of '00) caught a seven-yard touchdown pass from Diaz with 1:38 left in the game to cut the deficit to 19-6.
After a Garfield turnover, the Roughriders got on the board again with a Diaz nine-yard touchdown pass to Saul Jimenez (class of '05) with four seconds left in the game.
Diaz completed nine of 12 passes for 84 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the game.
The "East L.A. Classic" is played annually between Roosevelt and Garfield with RHS leading the all-time series, 40-30-6.
Alumni Football USA has put together Alumni football games all over the nation since 1985, giving over 40,000 former athletes the opportunity to put on the pads one more time. A portion of the profit goes to the respective schools and, also, to the medical expenses of Los Angeles Sheriff Deputy, Mohamed Ahmed, who was injured in an East L.A. shoot out on Jan. 11.