Inside the Game: Justin Worley

COLUMBIA, S.C. --- After dropping five of its first six games, Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern rode an eight-game winning streak, which spanned the entire conference schedule, to the SCHSL Class AAAA, Division II title game.

For the second consecutive season, though, Northwestern suffered a championship game defeat: 33-24 to Berkeley (S.C.). A year ago, the Trojans lost to cross-town rival Rock Hill (S.C.) South Pointe, 35-14.


Justin Worley is the quarterback of Northwestern's pass-heavy spread offense. He operates almost exclusively from the shotgun in a four-wide receiver formation (one ‘back, no tight end).

Northwestern's offense is high tempo (it ran 83 plays Saturday) with a 60-40 pass-to-run ratio. Worley is also part of the rushing attack, with several designed run plays.

Worley also handles punting duties for Northwestern.

Big Plays

* Midway through the second quarter, Worley connected with Robert Joseph for a 10-yard touchdown. It was Northwestern's first points of the day and tied the game at seven.

The location and/or timing of the pass weren't perfect, but it was put where only his receiver could make a play. Worley, who put plenty of touch on the pass, anticipated the receiver breaking open.

* With less than two minutes in the first half, Worley put Northwestern on his back, marched 69 yards down the field and put the ball in the end zone with a two-yard pass.

Of the drive's eight plays, Worley had a hand in all but one. He completed all six of his passes for 50 yards and had a two-yard rush.

On the scoring play, Worley pump faked while looking inside and then immediately drilled a pass to his far right to Joseph, who ran a short out route just inside the goal line.


Passing: 31-of-50 (62-percent) for 253 yards, 2 touchdowns
Rushing: 17 carries for 6 yards
Punting: 4 punts for 140 yards (35.0 average) with a long of 37 yards
Passing Breakdown: 2, 3fd, 14fd, 15fd, I, I, -2, I, 5, d, 15fd, -2, I, 15, 7, I, 10t, I, I, 9, 6, 9fd, 14fd, 9, 3t, 7, 11fd, 3, I, 5, I, I, 22fd, 17fd I, 2, I, 9fd, I, 12fd, d, 5, I, 4, d, 15fd, I, 13, 7fd, I
Rushing Breakdown: 9fd, 2, 1, 2, 2, 9, 4, 3, 1, 4, -6s, -9s, 7, 8fd, -9s, -6s, -11s

key: d = drop pass, I = incomplete pass, fd = first down, t = touchdown, INT = interception, s = sack


Worley throws a very catchable ball with exceptional accuracy. Although he seems to favor touch passes, he's capable of making all the throws. In particular, Worley's ability to perfectly drop passes in front of players on deep throws is uncanny.

At 6-foot-4, Worley's height is an asset – it gives him a high release point.

The Northwestern offensive line provides Worley with a lot of time. While in the pocket, he is patient as he goes through his progressions.

As a runner, Worley looks awkward. While he's by no means slow, he lacks elusiveness and is not a threat to break a long run.

Other Standouts

Northwestern's inability to contain Berkeley's run-dominant, double-wing offense, namely quarterback Bruce Ellington, played a major role in the Trojans' demise. On 48 rushes, Berkeley averaged 9.2 yards-per-carry – compared to zero yards on five passes. Ellington accounted for 191 of those yards, plus four of Berkeley's five touchdowns.

Ellington, however, has signed a Letter-of-Intent with South Carolina to play basketball. Although football programs were recruiting him, he's a four-star basketball prospect and the No. 12-ranked point guard in his class.

Justin Worley Profile

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