West Coach Hoppy Mumford of Santa Paula High said Willie Zavala, Santa Paula's quarterback the past three seasons, has elevated his game and will start for the West in the Ventura County all-star game tonight at 7 at Royal High.
"He's upgraded his performance," Mumford said of Zavala, who threw 27 touchdowns and had 47 passes intercepted in his high school career. "He's playing with some pretty good football players and he's raised his level to theirs."
Mumford said Zavala and the West's other quarterback, Jason Beck of Hueneme, are scramblers. But where Beck is more likely to escape through the front of the pocket, Zavala tends to roll out.
"They can both move," Mumford said. "They give those big [defensive] linemen fits."
St. Bonaventure has the most representatives on the West squad--eight players.
The East roster includes six players each from Agoura, Newbury Park, Westlake and Thousand Oaks.
Charlie Wegher, entering his fifth season as coach at Agoura, finally convinced his Ventura County counterparts to allow Charger players into the county's all-star game after several years of lobbying.
"Our school is in Los Angeles County but our kids play against the Ventura County kids," Wegher said. "Before, the only all-star games they could play in were in the Valley and they didn't know those kids."
There was a price, however, for the concession.
"[The coaches] said, 'OK, your kids can play, but you've got to coach their side,' " Wegher said.
Mumford and Wegher said getting a full turnout at practices has been impossible with the blitz of activities accompanying the end of school.
Wegher canceled the East's practice Tuesday because of a lack of players, and Mumford called four players who missed the West's first meeting.
"It's really tough because you have graduation and awards night and it goes on and on from there," Mumford said. "It's hard to get consistency when you're looking at different faces from day to day."