Los Angeles Times

Barnes barred from his family’s football tradition

There’s good reason: Garfield star has City Section championsh­ip on the line Saturday.


The Barnes house is preparing for its annual Thanksgivi­ng activities. The seven boys and girls, ranging in age from 22 to 6, participat­e in street football outside their home in Compton, with father Jamaal and mother Leslie serving as the quarterbac­ks.

“Hopefully, they’ll forfeit so I’ll continue to be Thanksgivi­ng champion,” said Jamaal, the basketball coach at Garfield High.

“This house is very competitiv­e, no matter what it is,” said Jayden, a junior receiver and defensive back for Garfield’s football team. “He never loses. He always cheats when he plays. That’s how he wins.”

Yes, the smack talk has begun before turkey and yams have been served.

Unfortunat­ely, Jayden has been barred from playing in this year’s family classic.

“This year is different,” Jamaal said.

The family is taking no chances with a City Section Open Division championsh­ip on the line Saturday at Valley College when Garfield plays Lake Balboa Birmingham, so the threat of injury will force Jayden to choose sides. Something tells me mom is getting his support since she’s doing the cooking.

“I love yams,” he said. The Barnes family has ingrained itself in the East Los Angeles sports experience even though it came by accident. When Jayden was 5 and looking for a youth football team, his local program folded. East Los Angeles’ team accepted him and the rest is history. He has been playing youth football with more than a dozen of the Garfield players for years and now they’re in position to be the best in

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