As they had throughout last football season, running backs Desmond Davis and Chad Pierson of Oxnard High provided their team with a 1-2 punch.
But it was Marcus Helfman who delivered the knockout blow.
Helfman, a senior quarterback from Agoura, went over the top on a one-yard plunge with 20 seconds left to give the East a 13-12 victory despite the best efforts of Davis and Pierson for the West in the Ventura County all-star football game Saturday night at Royal High.
The East leads the series, 14-9-2, and has won six of the last seven games.
Helfman's touchdown capped an 11-play, 45-yard drive that began with the West's fourth lost fumble of the game with 4:46 to play.
The West held a 12-7 lead at the time on the strength of Davis' 83 yards on 12 carries and one scoring reception, and Pierson's 65 yards and one touchdown in eight carries.
But Helfman, who completed eight of 17 passes for 97 yards, and Jake Farrel of Newbury Park, most valuable player in the game, made sure time ran out on the West at the end.
Helfman hit Farrel three times for 37 yards on the East's final drive, including a 23-yard pass play to the two-yard line on third and 18 at the West's 25 with under a minute remaining.
Three plays later, Helfman scored.
"I was excited to play quarterback and everything worked out great," said Helfman, normally a tight end. "I just put it up, and Jake did all the work on that."
It wasn't work it was fun, said Farrel, who is bound for New Mexico on a football scholarship.
"I came out here to have a good time and I'm just glad I was able to help this team win this game like that," said Farrel, who finished with five catches for 86 yards and one touchdown.
The West's plan to rely on the run was evident from the start.
The West ended an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown run by Pierson less than four minutes into the contest.
Pierson's run up the middle capped a series in which he or Davis carried the ball on every play, with Davis running for 39 yards and Pierson 26. The extra-point attempt failed, but the West had a 6-0 lead with 8:28 left in the first quarter.
The East responded soon after the opportunity arose near the end of the quarter when the West fumbled away a snap from center.
Helfman came off the bench to engineer an eight-play, 65-yard drive for the East in which he completed three of five passes for 55 yards, including a 28-yard touchdown to Farrel.
Paul Sanford kicked the extra-point to give the East a 7-6 lead with 8:54 to go in the half.
Davis gave the West a 12-7 halftime lead by taking a screen pass on the right side 40 yards for a touchdown with 2:31 left in the second quarter, three plays after a fumble recovery by Bo Espinoza of Rio Mesa.
Espinoza was named the West's outstanding defensive player, and Davis was named the West's outstanding offensive player. Helfman earned top offensive player honors for the East.