EVERETT -- Miquiyah Zamora and Jordan Downing have spent a lot of hot days in the gym this summer, working out, working with a trainer and working hard to get themselves up to college speed.
On Saturday, they got a taste of just how far they have come.
The recently graduated Chiawana Riverhawks, who will continue to be teammates at Eastern Washington next fall, played in Saturday's East-West All-Star Game for 3A and 4A football players in Everett.
"It was pretty cool," Zamora said. "I got to meet a lot of guys that at one point I didn't really like. But now, you put it away, put it in the past.
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"I was just surrounded by tough kids over there. Everybody's really tough, obviously -- you're playing in an all-star game. All of them have really good talent."
Zamora and Downing were joined by former Mid-Columbia players Josh Richards of Southridge and Moe Handcox of Walla Walla. Grant Woods of Kennewick also was selected to the team but could not participate.
For Downing, the game was a chance to end his high school career on the field instead of on the sideline, where he spent the last month in the fall after breaking his leg.
"It was a blast," he said. "The whole experience was fun, especially for me since I ended the season hurt. I went in there with a chip on my shoulder."
He came out as the East defensive MVP after recovering a fumble and intercepting a pass. Downing, traditionally an outside linebacker, moved inside and found the experience rewarding.
"I'd put on some weight for Eastern," said Downing, up to 215 pounds from his high school weight of 195. "I liked the position a lot."
Downing and Zamora enjoyed getting to know some of the other top players from around the state and having them on their team, including several guys from Ferris, which knocked Chiawana out of the playoffs last fall.
"The game speed was faster than high school football," said Zamora, a receiver and defensive back. "These guys move, especially those Ferris guys. They're tough kids, man. I'm glad we were on the same team."
* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; firstname.lastname@example.org