TURLOCK — It's a toss that Trevor Mew made hundreds of times last fall, taking a three-step drop and putting the ball in the hands of a receiver eight yards downfield.
It was a simple completion for Mew and hitting the receiver in stride gave him a running start on the defense.
Catch-and-run plays were critical to Central Valley's pass-happy attack in the fall, generating big gains when the defense was slow to react.
This time, though, the ball bounced off a receiver's shoulder pad and fell to the ground. Was the receiver a half-step early on his cut? Was Mew a moment late with his throw?
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A little bit of both, and not surprising because Mew and his receivers had only been playing together for a few hours.
"In the fall, you're going to a receiver you're very familiar with," Mew said. "In an all-star game, you're playing with guys for the first time."
That's the challenge awaiting Mew and Enochs' quarterback Boomer Green, who will lead the South in Saturday's 36th Lions All-Star Football Classic. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at the University of the Pacific.
"We've got great receivers, but every guy is a little different and it takes time to get the timing down," said Mew, who completed 75 percent of his passes for 2,957 yards and 29 TDs last fall. "A couple more practices and we'll get that."
Mixing and matching pieces from different passing offenses — none of the top three receivers played with Mew or Green — is an inherent obstacle for these all-star games.
It's difficult enough to piece together an offensive line in a week, and there is no passing without protection. Integrating pass-blocking schemes often take weeks leading into the season, but South coach Dennis Stubbs has five days.
"Some of our best kids are at quarterback and receiver, so we have to find ways to put the ball in their hands," said Stubbs, the Los Banos coach whose team threw for nearly 2,400 yards and 30 TDs in the fall. "We've got kids who can get downfield and take it in."
One of those is Stubbs' star from last fall, Rubal Sangha. The 6-foot-1-inch, 194-pounder caught a Sac-Joaquin Section-high 21 TDs, including an 81-yard score vs. Atwater.
The good news is Mew and Sangha spent much of last season running slants and fades, patterns that Green and receivers Hodari Peterson (Buhach Colony) and Ronyea Ellington (Patterson) ran often, as well.
The solution, Green says, is practice, practice, practice.
"Dropping the ball over the receiver's outside shoulder is one of the plays that has to be done over and over," the 6-2, 200-pounder said. "You want to reach a point where the receiver knows when the ball is going to arrive — and when I know he's going to be there."
Sangha is getting the call on many of the deep posts, or at least he feels that's the case.
"I've been working out, but I'm still getting in shape for football," said Sangha, who is going to attend Butte College. "Butte was the national champion last year and they send a lot of their kids to colleges."
Mew, meanwhile, will be at Modesto Junior College. Pirates' starter Greg Panelli returns — he's being courted by San Jose State and Cincinnati — so Mew is uncertain what his role is going to be.
"I need to get stronger and improve my footwork, using the ladder drill and running through tires, so I might red-shirt," said Mew, who will be joined at MJC by Green. "My coach at Central Valley (Tim Garcia) was a quarterback and went to MJC first. He has told me that it was the best thing to ever happen to him."