Mark Sutton is as brash and baffling as he is talented.
And currently he is idle.
Sutton, one of the region's best--and most enigmatic--players, moved to the Monroe High attendance area this summer in order to transfer from Sylmar. Yet he has not shown up at a practice.
"Our principal said he enrolled last Thursday," Coach Chris Richards of Monroe said. "But where is he? If everything were to work out, we'd be best for him and he'd be great for us. But I'm not sure he knows what he wants."
Sutton, a senior, was told by Sylmar coaches he was not welcome to return after a roller-coaster season in which he made nearly 100 tackles yet defied coaches on more than one occasion.
He spent one year at Sylmar after a tumultuous sophomore season at Antelope Valley.
Richards believes Sutton would prefer to return to Sylmar. But Spartan Coach Jeff Engilman said that won't happen.
"Mark is a survivor and I hope the best for him," Engilman said. "People buried him after he left Antelope Valley and people buried him after he left us.
"He wanted to play for us again, but he didn't fit in with some of the coaches."
Engilman said Sutton was ineligible after the spring semester but took home studies during the summer.
Richards isn't certain Sutton is eligible. Then again, he isn't certain Sutton is willing to play at Monroe.
"Other kids can learn from his situation," Richards said. "He really is a great kid. The hopping around is not his fault. It really isn't. The kid is just looking to be happy.
"He has to get his entire life together. Not now, right now. Time is running out."
Mark Pomerantz understands the laws of probability. He knows there are nearly 4,000 students at Van Nuys High, where he has been the coach for six years.
Therefore, there must be at least a few large boys interested in playing football.
Pomerantz, long frustrated that the Wolves are undersized, went around campus, found some big guys and put them in pads.
"This time I didn't take no for an answer," Pomerantz said. "I really rooted them out."
Nearly 200 players turned out for spring practice and Pomerantz whittled them down to a varsity roster of 45.
Among the newcomers on the line are Louis Ibarra, a 6-foot-1, 308-pound junior, Roman Sheckter, a 6-3, 275-pound sophomore volleyball player, and Kenneth Riley, a 6-3, 295-pound junior.
"We've got some size now," Pomerantz said. "Now they just need experience."