San Diego High School Review : Vista's Tommy Booker Is in Great Demand

Tommy Booker of Vista High School, The Times' Back of the Year, is No. 5 on the list of the nation's college football prospects heading into Wednesday, the first day players can sign letters of intent.

Several colleges are seeking Booker's signature, including San Diego State, Arizona State, Washington, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Vista Coach Dick Haines said Booker, who rushed for 2,158 yards this season, will not make a decision until Wednesday or Thursday, but added that he was "leaning toward Washington."

Other players making verbal commitments: Fallbrook quarterback Scott Barrick (SDSU), La Jolla defensive lineman Jon Beck (Cal), Morse lineman Charlie Fishero (Colorado), Escondido lineman Jumbo Malsack (SDSU), Lincoln offensive lineman Lawrence Misa (Navy), Lincoln quarterback Keith Mitchell (Arizona), Vista offensive lineman Tiny Mitchell (Oklahoma), Oceanside linebacker Sai Niu (SDSU), Crawford defensive back Ivory Randle, Vista defensive back Tony Trousett (Stanford), Granite Hills running back Tom Vardell (Stanford) and University of San Diego High School running back James Wilson (USC).

Oceanside linebacker and tight end Junior Seau will not sign until he returns from a visit to USC this weekend, Oceanside Coach Roy Scaffidi said.

The San Diego Section approved Coronado High School's request that its football team rejoin the 2-A division next season.

The Coronado football team, which is the only sport at the school not competing in 2-A (Metro-South Bay League), has played in the weaker 1-A division (Mountain-Desert League) the past two seasons.

Coronado Coach Dave Tupek, however, said he hopes the Section will formulate a lower-level 2-A division for schools such as Coronado that are too strong for 1-A but too weak for 2-A.

"I guess we would prefer to be in the smaller 2-A division," Tupek said. "For right now, the South Bay League will be fine."

At its Jan. 27 meeting, the Section's board of managers voted to support the idea of the smaller 2-A division, which would be implemented no sooner than the 1988-89 school year. The Section will examine the issue in more detail in June.

The main problem in forming the lower-level 2-A is finding five schools to participate in football. Coronado, Christian, Marian, the Bishop's School and Ramona have all agreed to compete in the lower-level division. Ramona will compete in football only, and the Bishop's School, which plays eight-man football, will compete in all other sports.

Coronado's fate in the 2-A division next season, however, should not be gloomy. Coronado was 3-0 last season against 2-A teams.

"We will be competitive," Tupek said. "We have 14 players coming back next year.

"The players are looking forward (to next season). They realize that we are a little too strong for 1-A. Last season, we seemed to be much more prepared for the 2-A teams."

The possibility that the Torrey Pines High football team will open its season next fall in its own stadium seems likely, according to Shawn Wirth, the school's athletic director. Wirth said seating for 4,000 is currently being installed at the campus stadium.

The cost of the stadium will be $1.5 million, Wirth said. The San Dieguito Union School District will provide most of the funds, and the Torrey Pines athletic booster club will provide the remaining $464,000, she said.

Wirth said an all-weather track may eventually be installed at the new stadium.

In previous years, Torrey Pines' football and track teams have competed at nearby San Dieguito High.

Morse and Mira Mesa are the top basketball teams in the City Eastern League, but Friday night both teams looked like they were cellar dwellers, as Morse converted only 14 of 61 shots from the field and Mira Mesa was 16 of 51.

Mira Mesa (5-2 in league and 17-4 overall) outscored Morse, 14-10, in the final quarter for a 39-38 victory. It was Morse's first loss this season to a San Diego County team. Pasadena Muir defeated Morse (6-1, 16-2) in a tournament earlier this season.

"That game should have been in the 50s," Mira Mesa Coach Tim Cunningham said. "Both teams really shot poorly."

Mira Mesa, which missed its first eight shots of the game, was 7 of 21 from the free-throw line.

Morse Coach Ron Davis said the loss was good for his team.

"With the way we have been playing lately, we knew someone was going to get us," Davis said. "It's probably better that we lost now instead of later on in the playoffs."

Morse remains atop the league's standings. Mira Mesa and Madison are tied for second.

Prep Notes

A dinner-roast for Walt Baranski, retired football coach at Patrick Henry High, will be held Feb. 22 at the Lighthouse Restaurant. Proceeds from the $15-a-plate dinner will go toward a Walt Baranski scholarship fund recently established at the school. . . . Dick Haines, coach of the Section 3-A runner-up Vista High football team, will present "Vista Big Red Options" at the Orange County Football Coaches' Clinic Feb. 28 in Rams Park at Anaheim. Haines will discuss the offensive strategy that has helped his teams to a 34-1 record the past three seasons, including three Section championships.

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