Dick Enright, the suddenly former football coach at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo, was reflecting on what had transpired in the previous few days:
"I feel so bad about what has happened. Thursday, I felt so low that part of me wanted to go to China, where they tell me a billion people don't care about football. The other half wanted to go to church, where God can forgive you. I decided to go to church. It was a lot closer."
It's not as though what the Cougar team and the school as a whole went through last week had global ramifications, but it was one of the worst series of events in years in the Southern Section. It should be a streak no one wants to beat, and, to be sure, a time most people would just as soon forget.
Enright, a former coach at Gardena High and the University of Oregon who led Capistrano Valley to an 8-0 start and the No. 3 spot in The Times' Southern Section rankings, was the central figure in a spying controversy brought two weeks earlier by El Toro.
According to El Toro, he had viewed tapes of an El Toro practice a few days before the teams met, a violation of California Interscholastic Federation rules. Enright admitted his guilt at a hearing and the Southern Section executive committee recommended he be suspended for the rest of the 1987 season and all of next year, and that the Cougars forfeit their 22-21 win over El Toro. The Saddleback Unified School district complied with the recommendations.
Friday, Enright resigned as coach. Eric Patton, longtime assistant, took over. Capistrano Valley ended the regular season with a loss to cross-town rival Mission Viejo at home.
Near the end of the game, a section of portable bleachers collapsed and 12 people suffered minor injuries. During a team prayer after the game, Patton broke into tears.
The one bright spot was quarterback Todd Marinovich, who set a national record for career passing yards, overtaking former L.A. Wilson star Ron Cuccia. Still, Marinovich wasn't in a very happy mood. As he posed with Cuccia for pictures, it was obvious he was holding back tears, too.
That said it all. Sadness even in a great moment.
The Southern Section had its forgettable moments, too.
It cleared up the case of El Toro and Capistrano Valley, the case of Pasadena Muir, one of the top teams in the Coastal Conference, having to forfeit its first eight wins for using an ineligible player, thus denying the Mustangs a spot in the playoffs opening Friday. Then, it botched a crucial decision on girls' volleyball.
After Maranatha of Sierra Madre turned itself in for possibly violating a rule prohibiting taping of an opponent's match without consent, the Southern Section called St. Anthony of Long Beach, the Minutemen's semifinal opponent, and said that Maranatha would forfeit that night's game. St. Anthony would go straight to the 1-A championship game, the school was told.
But, claiming that no one had viewed the tape and that a coach had apparently taped the St. Anthony-Covina game only to learn how to use a video camera, Maranatha appealed to the Southern Section and won. Two minutes before the end of school, St. Anthony was called and told it would have to play the game that night, after all.
Maranatha then beat St. Anthony, 15-5, 15-6, 15-10, and won the 1-A title Saturday night at Marina High in Huntington Beach.
"The girls are down," Sister Marion Kikukawa, the St. Anthony principal, said Friday morning. "Many of them were in tears. It would have been fine if we had just played and lost, but to go through what we have gone through, and play a match you were told you would not be playing and then lose, it's rubbing salt in your wounds."
A Southern Section official, requesting anonymity, admitted that the office had jumped the gun in telling St. Anthony it would go straight to the championship match.
That was little consolation to St. Anthony Coach Polly Pope.
"The CIF demands perfection from coaches," she said. "If you don't follow their rules, you're in trouble. What they did to us shows they aren't acting in accordance with their own demands of perfection."
Karen Hellyer, a Southern Section administrator in charge of volleyball, said she understood St. Anthony's frustration, but added: "The only consolation I can offer them is the fact that we worked really hard to be as fair and just as possible."
The City cross-country finals will be held Dec. 12 at Pierce College, but maybe without the best runner.
There is a possibility that Ian Alsen of Granada Hills may skip the meet in favor of the Kinney nationals, to be held the same day at Balboa Park in San Diego. A decision will depend on how he does at the Kinney regional meet Dec. 5 at Woodward Park in Fresno, where the top eight qualify for San Diego, and whether the Highlanders figure they can win the team title without him.