Justin Worley inched closer to claiming the top spot in the state record books after his four-touchdown passes guided Northwestern to a 35-12 region win over Spartanburg Friday night at Wofford College's Gibbs Stadium.
His four touchdown passes give him 123 for his three-year career, tying former Byrnes' gunslinger Willy Korn. Worley also rushed for one score.
Worley connected with his favorite target, Robert Joseph, three times. Worley tied Korn's mark with a strike to Brandon Lewis late in the fourth quarter.
Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace spent time this past week educating his team about the history of the Trojans' rivalry with Spartanburg. This year's S.C. High School League realignment placed the Vikings and the Trojans in the same region again this year.
"It's special," he said of returning to Spartanburg for a region contest. "I was trying to give our kids the history of this from '87 to '89 to '90 to '91 and really the first-class rivalry that we've had with them even when Stephen Davis played. We've had some really great games with Spartanburg...to come over here and win, and win decisively, really makes me happy."
Davis starred at Auburn and in the NFL, including with the Carolina Panthers.
Wallace certainly has reason to be happy as Northwestern picked up only its third win in 15 region road games against the Vikings.
The Trojans last road region victory over the Vikings was a 35-27 win in 1998. Spartanburg owns a commanding lead in the overall region game series at 20-9.
Northwestern stumbled out of the blocks Friday night, but settled down offensively on its third drive of the first quarter. Worley connected with B.J. Boyd for a 52-yard completion and later hit Joseph for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 2:25 left in the quarter.
The Trojans forced Spartanburg to a three-and-out on its ensuing possession. Northwestern's special teams blocked a Vikings' punt and recovered the ball on the 19.
Worley only needed three plays and 39 seconds to strike again. This time Worley did the work with his feet as the play called in by offensive coordinator Kyle Richardson faked out everyone in the stadium. The Trojans lined up with five receivers and Spartanburg's defense took the bait as they dropped everyone in coverage. that allowed Worley to run 13 yards for the score at the start of the second quarter.
Northwestern's defense continued to play strong at the outset of the second half. The Trojans' Roderick Byers drilled Tyquane Garner and forced him to cough up the ball. Byers recovered the fumble and his return set up Northwestern's fourth score.
Worley connected with Joseph for his third touchdown reception to give Northwestern a 28-0 lead early in the second half.
The Vikings continued to pressure in the fourth. Spartanburg reached the red zone for only its second time but again failed to convert a promising drive into points after Kollock fumbled at the 8.
Northwestern fumbled on its next drive and Kollock capped a quick drive with a 26-yard touchdown strike to DaQwan Fuller.
Worley's lone mishap came at the beginning of the fourth when he was picked off by Daquan Brown, who set up Spartanburg's final score with a long runback. Worley's state record-tying touchdown pass came on a 26-yard strike to Brandon Lewis with 6:03 left..
N - Robert Joseph 22 pass from Justin Worley (Hunter Padgett kick)
N - Worley 13 run (Padgett kick)
N - Joseph 86 pass from Worley (Padgett kick)
N - Joseph 20 pass from Worley (Padgett kick)
S - DaQwan Fuller 26 pass from Adrian Kollock (kick failed)
S - Fuller 33 pass from Adrian Kollock (two-point conversion failed)
N - Brandon Lewis 26 pass from Worley (Padgett kick)
RUSHING - Spartanburg: Kollock 12-34, Tyquane Garner 13-47, De'Shawn Sims 12-63, Arland Woodruff 2-20, Anthony Williams 1-2, Demarius Lyles 1-7, DyQuan Young 1-3. Northwestern: LaThomas Long 9-43, Worley 2-6, AJ McCoy 1-10, Marcus Marshal 1-1, Delvieon McCleod 3-8.
PASSING - Spartanburg: Kollock 9-21-84-0. Northwestern: Worley 19-34-321-1.
RECEIVING - Spartanburg: Sims 2-3, Garner 2-23, DaQwan Fuller 3-45, Woodruff 2-23. Northwestern: Stewart Hunt 1-9, Joseph 6-122, Lewis 1-26, B.J. Boyd 7-127, McCleod 1-6, Long 2-2, Rontavious McClure 1-29.
Records: Spartanburg 3-4, 0-1 Region 3-AAAA; Northwestern 7-0, 1-0