MONTEREY PARK - Running back Lance Fernandez scored four rushing touchdowns - including one of 75 yards - and the Bulldog defense stopped the Rough Rider offense twice on fourth and one - once at the goal line - as Garfield High defeated Roosevelt High in the 77th annual "East L.A. Classic" at East Los Angeles College Friday night.
Fernandez also scored from two, three and four yards out while gaining 167 yards on 25 carries. Also helping out in the backfield was fullback Larry Ravelo, who rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries and spelled Fernandez nicely.
Fernandez said his success in Garfield's second straight season win over Roosevelt was a team effort.
"The whole (offensive line) did outstanding," Fernandez said. "This week wasn't that good at practice, but they stepped up and opened holes for me."
He added it was great to get the win over the Bulldog rival from Boyle Heights.
"This is the biggest win of my career so far," he said. "It's great to have the bragging rights."
Garfield coach Lorenzo Hernandez agreed.
"Finally, two years in a row," said Hernandez, whose Bulldogs have also made it five straight this season. "It's been a while."
Playing a ball control offense, the Bulldogs scored on their opening drive as they marched 65 yards in 14 plays. Fernandez capped off the drive with a one-yard score.
However, that lead didn't last long. On their very first play from scrimmage, Roosevelt running back Michael Galindo was handed the ball and he ran 76 yards for a touchdown. Factor in the two-point conversion and the Rough Riders led, 8-7.
Garfield got the lead back early in the second quarter as the offense marched 45 yards in nine plays to take a 15-8 lead. Fernandez scored on this drive from three yards out.
Roosevelt, however, came back to tie the game five minutes later as defensive back Juan Garcia picked off Garfield quarterback Nicky Peralta and ran the ball back 15 yards for a touchdown.
However, Fernandez struck again with 24 seconds left in the first half as he scored from four yards out to cap an 11-play, 67-yard drive.
The Rough Riders had two scoring opportunities in the second half but were stuffed by the Bulldog defense twice on fourth and one situations, once on the Bulldog 18-yard line late in the third quarter, and more importantly at the goal line with three minutes left as Galindo was unable to make in into the end zone.
"I can't be any prouder of these guys," defensive coordinator Sergio Martinez said. "They stepped up. They played with heart and pride. They came through when they had to."
Fernandez then sealed the victory with a 75-yard scamper with 1:28 left in the game.
"He's just determined," Hernandez said of Fernandez. "He did a good job for us."
Hernandez added he thought his team started out slowly, but said that's the Bulldogs' style.
"That's what we tend to do with our offense," he said. "It was just a little like that, but we got it going."
(Shel Segal can be reached at