Todd Marinovich's memorable evening turned out to be a night to forget Friday. The Capistrano Valley quarterback got his record, only to find it full of scratches.
Marinovich surpassed former Newport Harbor quarterback Shane Foley as Orange County's all-time passing leader with a 22-yard touchdown pass to running back Tom Adams early in the second quarter of the Cougars' nonleague game against Saddleback. The celebration was brief and the fanfare kept to a minimum.
That was probably for the best. Saddleback spoiled Marinovich's party by intercepting three of his passes and rolling to a 48-7 victory in front of 2,500 spectators at Capistrano Valley.
Saddleback quarterback Sean Therien, who watched Marinovich end what little suspense there was to the passing record at the 10:50 mark of the second quarter, went on to have the best game of his career, throwing for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead the Roadrunners to their 15th straight win, dating back to the middle of last season. The winning streak is the longest in the county.
Nate Primous rushed for two touchdowns and returned an intercepted Marinovich pass 41 yards for a touchdown, wide receiver Danny Ontiveros caught 7 passes for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns and Billy Thurmond had 5 receptions for 130 yards to help the Roadrunners (5-0) spoil Marinovich's fun.
A swarming Saddleback secondary kept Marinovich mostly frustrated once the record was in the books. Marinovich, who spent the first two seasons of his high school career at Mater Dei before transferring to Capistrano Valley last summer, finished the game 12 of 23 passing for 146 yards, giving him 5,328 yards for his career that still has 1 1/2 seasons to go. Foley set the mark of 5,264 yards in 1984-85.
For the record, Marinovich threw a sideline pass to Adams coming out of the backfield, then looked on as his teammate slipped a tackle near the Saddleback sideline and won a race to the end zone for a touchdown that cut Saddleback's early lead to 14-7. The ball was then thrown to the Capistrano Valley bench for safekeeping and a few of Marinovich's teammates slapped him on the helmet and offered handshakes. The public address announcer informed spectators of the record, then it was on with the game. And on with a Saddleback rout.
Therien, a junior who watched Myron Butler lead Saddleback to the Southern Section Central Conference championship last fall, was the only happy quarterback by the time the final gun sounded.
"Sean's been on the verge of having a really good offensive game all year," Saddleback Coach Jerry Witte said. "He just hadn't broken loose. Tonight, he did."
The play that began the Cougars' downfall was Primous' interception return for a touchdown near the end of the first half. With Saddleback leading, 14-7, Capistrano Valley (3-2) got the ball on its 29-yard line with 2:37 left before intermission. The Cougars appeared ready to go into a hurry-up offense to get the tying touchdown, but were turned away in a hurry.
On first down, Primous stepped in front of a Marinovich pass intended for Adams, used some fancy footwork to stay in bounds, then ran 41 yards for a touchdown that gave the Roadrunners a 21-7 halftime lead.
Saddleback scored on its first possession of the second half on a five-yard scoring pass from Therien to Brian Hoialmen. On the Roadrunners' next possession, Primous set up his one-yard touchdown dive with a twisting 31-yard run to the Capistrano Valley 24. The touchdown enabled Saddleback to take a 34-7 lead into the fourth quarter.
"Things just started snowballing," Witte said. "I think the kids really believe they can play good football now." Witte said that he was concerned before the game that the hoopla over Marinovich's pursuit of the record might have his team a little too excited. If the Roadrunners were, they didn't show it. They moved 74 yards in just 7 plays on the game's opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Ontiveros took a handoff from Therien on a reverse and threw deep downfield to an unguarded Thurmond for a 57-yard gain. Thurmond virtually stopped and waited for the pass to get to him before catching it and taking it to the Capistrano Valley 11. Five plays later, Primous scored from one yard out.
Therien made it 14-0 on Saddleback's next possession, lofting a perfectly thrown pass down the right sideline to Ontiveros for a 41-yard touchdown.
Marinovich completed five passes on Capistrano Valley's ensuing possession, the last of which set the record.
ORANGE COUNTY PASSING LEADERS
Name School Years Yards Todd Marinovich Capo Valley 1984- 5,328 Shane Foley Newport Harbor 1984-85 5,264 Burt Call Capo Valley 1981-83 4,956 Mark Larsen Kennedy 1973-75 4,815 Jim McCahill Estancia 1979-81 4,609