EAST LOS ANGELES, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — There’s no Friday Night Lights football for Garfield High School in East Lost Angeles this year. This is a stark change from its usual competitive football season.
If and when the Garfield Bulldogs return to the field, it will be a season like no other. Eight girls are on the varsity roster for the predominantly male football team.
The team now hold home workouts because of the pandemic. The team’s season is currently postponed until January. It is a clear disappointment for the ladies on the team.
“I love the sport, I love the adrenaline when you’re running, getting tackled, getting knocked on the ground, standing back up. It’s probably, just something I really like to do, you know,” Kim Flores-Zavaleta said.
Males remain the majority on the Garfield team, but this is the first year with so many girls on the roster.
“Honestly, I don’t see a difference. All I know is they put in the amount of work that I put in. Maybe even more,” said Quarterback Jason Vargas.
The team believes every has earned their spot to play. The team says they have a family atmosphere and value performance above all else.
“Throw them the ball, they make a play. And that’s all the matters to you? And that’s all that matters. My job is to block her. That’s all that matters to me,” said Left Tackle Aaron Irineo.
Garfield High School is consistently ranked in the top 10. It has been in the playoffs for 19 years straight and has also won a city championship.
Coach Lorenzo Hernandez believes the girls are the strength of the program.
“The new mentality is a paradigm shift that you give every kid an opportunity and give them an environment they’re going to enjoy, regardless of their gender,” Hernandez, said. “I think if these kids want to come in and put in the work. And they do exactly what the other gender does, why not?”
Playing key positions on the varsity team has made the Garfield girls community influencers.
“After the season, there were some girls from other schools that are gonna start coming in for middle school. They wanted to play football. The reason being there are girls on the football team. They want to play,” Flores-Zavaleta said.
Just like most male players, the girls may not get to play beyond high school but they have happy to have played the sport they love.
“I’m going to look back and think, this was a really important time in my life and it helped me to learn so many important lessons to be successful in life. Because being successful in football, is helping me be successful in life,” Violeta Ramirez, slot receiver said.