High School Sports

Shrine Bowl is Ellington's football farewell

Bruce Ellington's football career likely comes to an end today when the splendid senior plays in the 73rd annual Verizon Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas.

His final game comes 15 days after the Berkeley quarterback ran and willed his team to the Class 4A Division II state championship, scoring four touchdowns in a 33-28 victory against Northwestern.

After the title game, Berkeley coach Jerry Brown had high praise for Ellington. He reiterated it this week.

"I said it after the game, and I'll say it again: He's one of the top five or 10 most dominating players in the history of South Carolina high school football. There's Stephen Davis and Freddie Solomon," Brown said. "It's not a long list. I've been at it 39 years, and I've never seen anyone like him.

"At Berkeley, Rusty Williams was a great high school football player, and he comes close. Close is a good word."

Ellington is considered one of the top 20 football players in the state, but he is even better in basketball. He traveled the country over the summer and saw his stock soar as a point guard, even though he is 5-foot-10.

He became a major player in the recruiting game and had many impressive games, including one in the Desert Dual Summer Prep Memorial, which was held in Phoenix. He played for the AAU Team Trademark Properties and poured in 30 points and dished out eight assists to upset Seattle Rotary. His effort was impressive because he was being guarded by 6-5 point guard Anthony Wroten Jr., who is considered by many to be the top junior point guard in the country.

Ellington signed to play hoops at USC, and there's speculation Ellington might change his mind and play both sports. But on Thursday, he said he was sticking with his basketball-only decision.

Most observers find it hard to believe that Ellington is a better basketball player than a football player.

Brown might fit into that category.

"I challenge anybody to find a player who dominates game after game," he said. "I know some players who dominate in one game, and that's it."

Ellington is a threat to score anytime he touches the ball, and that includes the fourth quarter when the game is on the line.

Story continues after state championship video

His late-game heroics amazed many.

He scored on a 41-yard run in the fourth quarter to give Berkeley a 13-9 victory against Greenwood, and he tallied a pair of touchdowns in overtime to lift Berkeley to a 38-35 win against Goose Creek.

Then there was the coup de grace against Northwestern in the title game. He scored on runs of 28 and 40 yards in the fourth quarter to rally the Stags from a 10-point deficit.

Today, Ellington will play wide receiver and quarterback.

"We went up this week to see him," Brown said. "He's right at home. He's getting to know people and reacquaint himself with the wide receiver position. They want to get the ball in his hands."

And when that happens, you can find Ellington in the end zone, celebrating another touchdown.