Air Worley is on the runway and ready for takeoff Saturday at District Three Stadium.
Frequent flyer Robert Joseph has his chinstrap buckled and is ready to fly the friendly and unfriendly skies for at least the next 11 weeks, maybe more.
The first leg of the trip is Saturday, when the Northwestern Trojans host South Pointe at 4 p.m. in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPNU.
Joseph is Northwestern's record-breaking senior wide receiver. He caught a state record 150 passes last year, shattering the old mark of 103 by Byrnes' Jomar Wright in 2003.
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He had 22 catches in a win over Gaffney last season, breaking the single-game record of 20 by Lamar's Derrick Higgins in 2000.
Joseph also ended up with 1,834 receiving last season, which is believed to be the best-ever in South Carolina, according to a survey of high school writers from around the state. The South Carolina High School League does not keep records for most receiving yards in a season.
With those accolades, everyone believes Joseph is going to be a superstar in college, right? College coaches line up at Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace's door trying to corral him, right?
Joseph is small at 5-foot-9, 154 pounds. So far, the only Division I schools that have shown the slightest interest are Duke and Clemson.
"I believe I can play at the highest level but I understand how the big colleges are on bigger players,'' Joseph said.
"I have big hands and long fingers, and I believe I do a good job catching the ball. And although I don't meet the size standard DI schools look for, I still have some good opportunities."
Indeed, he does. Several NCAA Division I FCS schools, the tier under the Divison I, are recruiting him.
They include Appalachian State and Furman.
He's also caught the eye of Presbyterian and several other smaller schools within driving distance of Rock Hill.
Wallace says the school that lands Joseph is getting a steal.
"He has a 3.9 GPA, loves science and told me he wants to be an aeronautical engineer,'' Wallace said. "He's one of the greatest kids I've ever had the opportunity to coach. He often tells me not to worry, that he'll play hard on every down because he doesn't want to let me or coach (Bubba) Pittman down.
"Last year, he was really sick at practice. I told him to come home with me to spend a night and that I'd get Margaret (Wallace's wife) to make us some chicken soup. I told him first, though, he had to call his mom. He comes from a strong family and she said she'd rather have him at home.''
Northwestern's offense is called the "Air Raid.'' It is piloted by senior quarterback Justin Worley, who committed early to Tennessee. In two seasons as a starter, Worley has passed for 8,007 yards and 92 touchdowns. He threw 42 touchdown passes last season, 20 to Joseph.
"I get a lot of opportunities, but that's because Justin and I grew up playing together,'' Joseph said. "It's like we have a feel for each other. He knows where I am on the field. I know depending on the coverage, what kind of pass he's going to throw.
"We have other good receivers; Stewart Hunt, Brandon Lewis and Cody Craven. We have a little competition going about who will catch the most passes on Friday night. We'll talk about it Saturday morning at the school, then forget about it and start getting ready for our next game.''
Joseph said it's no secret to any opponent that the Trojans are going to run the ball every now and them, but will pass on nearly every play.
"We throw a lot of passes in games, but we throw nearly 1,000 every day at practice,'' Joseph said. "We practice passing, then practice it some more and them some more. When you spend that much time on that part of the offense, it really helps on Friday nights.
"I love our offense. Any receiver on any team would love to play in it because it allows them to do what every receiver wants, catch a lot of footballs. I like to run slants across the middle, but some receivers don't. You know when you run one and catch the ball, you're going to get hit hard every time.''
So that brings us to the 2010 season, one Joseph hopes will push his stock higher. But if he doesn't play for a major college, as long as he performs at the level he's reached, the folks in the NFL will know about him.
But time will tell. Joseph has unfinished business and said the future can wait.
"We went to the last two state championship games (Class AAAA Division II) and lost,'' he said. "It was tough, especially last year because I was a starter.
"All of us have been working extra hard getting ready for this season. We have a common goal, to go back and win it this season. We work well together as a team and we have a good quarterback in Justin. He's my best friend and hang out together a lot. He's a cool guy and we believe he can take us back one more time.''
Want to go?
WHAT: High school football doubleheader
WHO: Byrnes vs. Hoover, Ala., Noon, ESPN; South Pointe vs. Northwestern, 4 p.m., ESPNU
WHERE: District Three Stadium, Rock Hill
TICKETS: On sale at Northwestern's and South Pointe's athletic departments. $10 advance, $12 at the gate. Good for both games.
PEP RALLY: Community Pep Rally, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Old Town Amphitheater in downtown. Will feature cheerleaders from Northwestern, Rock Hill, South Pointe and Hoover, Ala., high schools and players from Hoover, Northwestern and South Pointe. There will be music, mascots and food: Burgers, BBQ, boiled peanuts and drinks for sale to get fans ready for the Greer at Rock Hill game Friday night and the ESPN RISE Doubleheader on Saturday. The event is free and open to the public.