High School Sports

Test time here for 4A QBs' skills

Northwestern coach Jimmy Wallace's game plan to shut down Berkeley quarterback Bruce Ellington in tonight's Class 4A Division II championship game revolves around the groundskeepers at Williams-Brice Stadium.

"We asked them if we could paint the field and narrow it down a little bit. We want to go from 52 yards to about 20," Wallace joked earlier this week. "He's an incredible player."

Tonight's game features two high-profile quarterbacks.

Berkeley (13-1) has Ellington, one of the state's top athletes. The 5-foot-10 senior runs with speed and power. His quickness can fake out the most focused tackler. He is an impressive football player, but will play basketball for South Carolina next year.

Northwestern (9-5) features junior quarterback Justin Worley, a tall and talented thrower who can make lockdown cornerbacks look lethargic.

"My concern is how to simulate Worley at practice," said coach Jerry Brown, who is seeking his third state title at Berkeley. "We let Bruce throw. He's is 5-10 and Justin is 6-5. I don't know how to simulate that - put him on a ladder, maybe."

The offensive attacks are different but both are effective. Berkeley averages 38.5 point per game and Northwestern is averaging 39.4 points per game during its eight-game winning streak.

Ellington has carried 198 times and has 2,000 yards and 29 touchdowns rushing. He has passed 66 times, with 32 completions for 687 yards and seven touchdowns.

Berkeley must contain Worley, one of the top junior quarterbacks in the country. Worley has completed 361 passes for 4,111 yards and 40 touchdowns.

Ellington, who was slowed by an ankle injury against Goose Creek, still rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-35 double-overtime victory against the Gators. He scored two touchdowns in overtime, including bulling over a defender for a game-winning 1-yard touchdown run.

But the play that had them talking at Monday's press conference was his 77-yard run, in which he eluded or broke eight tackles.

Byrnes senior Marcus Lattimore, who is considered the best running back prospect in the country, attended the press conference and watched the video of Ellington's run. He asked Ellington, "Why are you playing basketball (in college)?"

And once he gets to college, Gamecock fans might ask the same thing.

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