Competitive juices flow in Ventura County All-Star Football game

Big plays are a sure thing for an All-Star game, and the 48th Annual East/West Ventura County All-Star Football Game produced its share Saturday afternoon.

St. Bonaventure High’s Darrius Shirley-Moore had a 25-yard run, followed by his own 3-yard touchdown, which was the deciding fourth quarter of the West’s 23-7 win at Ventura College.

Cody Hoffman, another St. Bonaventure stalwart, outplayed a defender in the end zone to carry a 25-yard touchdown pass from Hueneme’s Stanley Espinoza with 5:34 left in the third quarter that gave West an advance he would not renounce.

When Thousand Oaks’ Jackson Volk produced a striped sack midway through the second quarter, it was Lancers teammate Ben Knox who jumped on the loose football in the end zone for what turned out to be the only points of the competition for the East.

Thousand Oaks East's Ben Knox (center) celebrates with teammates after recovering a fumble for a touchdown during the second quarter of the 48th Annual East/West Ventura County All-Star Football Game at Ventura College on Saturday March 12, 2022. The West won 23-7.

You know what else is a certainty in an all-star match?

The competition juices will flow.

This also happened when the two teams traded interceptions in the fourth quarter on back-to-back possessions.

The second, by Richie Vega of Santa Paula, was met with a hard tackle, woofing by a number of players, and a heated exchange of jostling on the pitch. Both teams were sidelined by their coaches.

When the match resumed, the officials decided to install a running clock to further defuse the emotions.

“I’m not surprised that happened,” Shirley-Moore said. “Both teams are doing everything they can to win the game. No one wants to lose their last high school game. At the end of the day, we’re all competitors.”

Knox agreed.

“Maybe I didn’t expect this to happen in an all-star game, but it’s a game where emotions will run high. It’s hard to lose a game like this because it’s hard to lose. This is the last high school game we’re going to play in. We’re all going to play hard.

West's Cody Hoffman of St. Bonaventure catches Cezhon Gayton of Royal of the East during the third quarter of the 48th Annual Ventura County All-Star Football Game at Ventura College on Saturday 12 March 2022. The West won 23-7.

Turns out the emotions were mixed with a dose of old-school fun. All the stars on both sides of the long-running Ventura Downtown Lions Club-sponsored rivalry made sure to enjoy the moment.

Like Buena running back Jake Murphy, who rushed for 17 yards on the West’s first series, ending with his 3-yard run into the end zone. That put West into a 7-0 lead with 7:46 left in the first quarter.

“I had fun,” Murphy said. “I know a lot of these guys from junior football, and we all went to different schools. It was so much fun to play one last game with them. I made sure I had fun today.”

It was a fitting end to a season in high school where the Bulldogs beat rival Ventura, won the Pacific View League championship and qualified for a CIF-Southern Section title game for the first time in history. from the program.

“Just an awesome year,” Murphy said. “I know I’m excited to play football at the next level. I don’t know where yet, but I will definitely play next year.”

Fillmore quarterback Joey Holladay was one of six Flashes to play for the East.

“It was so much fun,” he said. “We wanted to win, but it was fun to play with and against so many good players. It was a good way to play my last high school game.”

Mathew Carpintero of Hueneme, of the West, breaks free from Fabian Estrada of Fillmore, of the East, during the third quarter of the 48th Annual East/West Ventura County All-Star Football Game at Ventura College on Saturday, March 12 2022. The West won 23-7.

Hueneme wide receiver Mathew Carpintero echoed that sentiment.

“We all went out and competed,” said Carpintero, who caught a 20-yard reception from Shirley-Moore in the third quarter that set up a 30-yard field goal. “We didn’t have a lot of practice, but we got on well. Everyone did their job and it’s a good feeling to get the win.”

Shirley-Moore was named the West’s Most Valuable Player, Seraphs teammate Ben Hall was the West’s Defensive Player of the Game, and Carpintero was the Offensive Player of the Game.

For the East, Royal lineman Alonzo Gaytan was his team’s most valuable player, Knox was the defensive player of the game, and Simi Valley’s Cooper Wallace was the offensive player of the game.

Wallace had three receptions for 24 yards and two carries for 21 yards.

Gaytan said it was a happy experience.

“I wanted to face good players, and that’s what happened,” he said. “I had a good time.”

Loren Ledin is the editor of The Star. He can be reached at or 805-437-0285.

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