During Monday's State Championship press conference in Columbia, Greenwood coach Gene Cathcart was asked his thoughts on Northwestern quarterback Justin Worley.
"He's a pretty good one, could end up being the best our state ever produced,'' Cathcart said. "He's setting state passing records that could stand forever. He darkens the sky with footballs. I'm going to ask coach (Jimmy) Wallace that if he'll run on every play we'll pass on all of ours.''
Cathcart has watched enough video to know what his team faces Friday night at 8 p.m. when his Greenwood Eagles (13-1) play Northwestern (14-0) for the Class AAAA DII championship at USC's Williams-Brice Stadium.
Some coaches might consider Cathcart's offer and take their chances. Not Wallace because no other coach in the state, and possibly none ever, has had a quarterback of Worley's abilities.
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He's 6-foot-5 and weighs 200 pounds. As a student, he has a 4.1 GPA and ended all recruiting speculation early by committing to Tennessee. He has started three seasons and has re-written the state record book for passing.
Worley has thrown for 13,122 yards and 152 touchdowns in his career. His 2010 numbers are 5,052 and 59 touchdowns. The 59 TD passes this season broke the state record of 53 thrown by former Byrnes quarterback Willy Korn.
But even Worley, a player about as grounded as the get when he's not firing football, will tell you that behind every good quarterback is a great group of receivers. He's said more than once that his numbers wouldn't be as gaudy if he didn't have guys who are great at catching the ball.
Maybe a little bit of Worley is a combination of being a very good passer and his receivers doing well hanging on to the ball. Perhaps the most impressive number is his 65.7 percent career completion mark.
It seems every year another crew of pass catchers has moved up. Worley had Robert Joseph, another Trojans' record setter, as well as Brandon Lewis and Stewart Hunt who are back this year. But have you ever heard of BJ Boyd? Or Delvieon McLeod?
And all but Lewis, the lone pure receiver of the group, got there in a round-about way.
Joseph was a starting cornerback and played some as a wide receiver his sophomore season. But nobody, not even Trojans offensive coordinator Kyle Richardson, expected what the team got for Joseph as a full-time wide out last season.
He set the state record, easily shattering the old mark, for catches in a single game with 22. He did it in a win over Gaffney. Joseph also broke the record for most catches in a season with 150. The old marks were 20 in a game and 103 in a season.
"Every year I've been here we look over our players and see where they can help us the best,'' Richardson said. "We saw that BJ wasn't getting a lot of reps on defense and moved him over to be our backup quarterback. But we needed to get him on the field as much as possible and moved him to receiver, which ended up being a good move.''
Boyd is second in receiving yards with 1,179 and has caught 15 TD passes. Joseph is the leader with 1,295 yards and 22 TDs.
Hunt began his varsity career as a backup quarterback, Boyd was a free safety and McLeod was brought up as an offensive back from the JV team in 2008, when Northwestern began its run of three straight state championship appearances.
His family moved to Columbia last year and he played at Northeast Richland. Back this year, he's caught 53 passes for 637 yards and three touchdowns.
"I hated moving away from Northwestern and leaving my friends,'' he said. "The first thing I did when my mom told me we were coming back was call Coach Richardson with the news.
"This is my home, where I'm supposed to be. It feels so good to be back and have the chance to help the guys win a championship.''
Lewis has 47 catches for 729 yards and nine TDs. Hunt has 43 catches for 586 yards and five TDs.
"This is a great group of guys and we've been saying since last year that it's our big family,'' Hunt said. "He hang together, and when Delvieon moved back it was like one of our brothers was coming home. Everybody is important, but it never hurts to add another person with experience.''