Bolsa Grande High School, which has won 20 consecutive games during the past two seasons, announced Wednesday that it has forfeited five victories and its Garden Grove League title because it used an ineligible player.
However, the forfeits will not jeopardize Bolsa Grande's participation in the Central Conference playoffs, in which the Matadors are the defending champions and the top-seeded team. Bolsa Grande will play Saddleback in the second round Friday night at Santa Ana Stadium.
Bolsa Grande forfeited league victories over La Quinta, Los Amigos and Kennedy and nonleague victories over Savanna and Gahr. The Matadors' overall record drops from 11-0 to 6-5.
Pacifica, which finished second in the eight-team league with a 6-1 record, was declared the Garden Grove League champion. Bolsa Grande's league mark is now 4-3.
Bolsa Grande school administrators discovered the violation on Tuesday after they completed a routine review of students' quarter-grade reports.
George Wilson, Bolsa Grande principal, reported the infraction to the Southern Section office and then called a meeting of the Garden Grove League's principals on Wednesday morning to determine the league champion and Bolsa Grande's fate in the playoffs.
Wilson said the ineligible player was not a starter and played only sparingly in five games that had long been decided before he entered those games. Wilson also said the player did not participate in last week's 42-20 victory over Glenn in the playoffs.
The ineligible player had failed to meet Garden Grove Unified School District rules that require a student-athlete to have completed 150 credits entering his senior year. A student in the district must complete 210 credits to graduate.
Southern Section eligibility requirements merely state that a student must pass four subjects and maintain a 2.0 (C) average in the four subjects.
"We are a little more restrictive than the CIF and some other districts," said Ken Caulkins, assistant superintendent of the district. "I feel terrible for the team. They had that wonderful winning streak. . . . What a way for it to go."
Bolsa Grande's 20 consecutive victories made up the longest current winning streak in the Southern Section. A week ago, the Matadors finished the regular season as the top-ranked team in the Orange County Sportswriters Assn. football poll with a 10-0 record, the only county school with a perfect record.
Mitch Thomas, Los Amigos principal and the president of the Garden Grove League, said the league's principals voted unanimously to allow Bolsa Grande to continue in the postseason playoffs.
"There was a great deal of discussion in the meeting, but no one expressed the feeling that Bolsa Grande shouldn't be in the playoffs," Thomas said.
Coach Bill Craven said he learned that his Pacifica team had been declared league champion Wednesday afternoon and told his players before practice.
"We told them we were league champs with an asterisk," Craven said. "You've got to feel for Bolsa Grande. They won the games on the field, and the way I understand it, the ineligible boy hardly played a down."
Greg Shadid, Bolsa Grande coach, told his players about the forfeitures before Wednesday's practice session, and said his players responded well during a two-hour workout.
"They took it (the forfeits) like men and showed a lot of character," he said. "Giving up the league title was tough. The kids think a lot about those (championship) patches.
"The sad thing about it is that we didn't violate a CIF rule, and we're not talking about a superstar player. I want people to know that we didn't win with an illegal player. . . .
"I told our kids that our league title is gone and the winning streak is gone. The only thing left is go out and win another CIF title."
Bolsa Grande became the fourth county school to forfeit games in the 1987 season. Earlier, La Habra forfeited four victories; Laguna Hills forfeited two victories and a tie, and Capistrano Valley forfeited a victory.
School Overall League Pacifica 7-2 6-1 Santiago 5-4-1 3-3-1 Bolsa Grande 6-5 4-3 La Quinta 4-6 4-3 Los Amigos 5-5 4-3 Kennedy 3-6-1 3-3-1 Rancho Alamitos 6-3 3-4 Garden Grove 1-9 0-7
Team Score* Record Gahr 33-0 1-9 Savanna 54-0 1-9 La Quinta 51-6 4-6 Los Amigos 42-6 5-5 Kennedy 48-0 3-6-1
* All forfeitures become 1-0 losses.