Newsome's Worth makes impact plays both sides of ball
LITHIA - Will Worth hit a player in a game this season so hard his helmet shot off his head like a cork from a champagne bottle. Worth ran around the right side and — bam — the player flew back into the end zone, but only after his helmet sailed in the air and Worth plowed across the goal line. "I've never seen anything like it,'' said Ricardo Rodriguez, a teammate of Worth's on the Newsome High football team. "It was a clean collision, but the impact was so big that the helmet blasted off. "But that's Will. He does amazing things, and he does them all the time."Throwback, bull, ironman, superhero, Superman, workhorse, legend — the descriptions of Will Worth are all like that. "I'm just a player trying to do the best he can for his teammates," said Worth, whose team travels to Kissimmee Osceola today for the Class 7A-Region 2 final. "I just love to play the game." And play he does, as in almost every play of every game. He plays quarterback — this season completing 59 of 113 passes for 950 yards and 10 touchdowns, and rushing for 1,421 yards and 18 touchdowns — and he plays middle linebacker, leading the team in tackles with 96. "I've never seen anything like it in this era of football," said Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia, who faced Worth in Week 3. "You don't see a quarterback play middle linebacker like that. On every play you can guarantee that No. 15 is in there somewhere. "… Will Worth is one tough son of a gun." Worth played eight years of youth league football and four years with Newsome, playing both ways the whole time, and not only has he never missed a game, but also he has never been injured. "I know I have a rough football season ahead of me each year," said Worth, who bench presses 345 pounds and pulls sleds piled high with weights throughout the offseason. "So I try to get in the best shape I can during the offseason." Worth, the student body vice president, has a 5.44 GPA while taking almost all honors classes, and he has never gotten less than an A on a report card. He said he likes math and physics because he likes to solve problems, which is one of the reasons he believes he succeeds at football. Yes, it's partly that he is a muscular bull, but it's also because he reads defenses and offenses so well that he can make adjustments that baffle opponents. "Preparing to play against Newsome and Will Worth was a total pain in the neck," Jefferson coach Jeremy Earle said. "They run that (wing-T) so well, that and Worth is so good at finding openings, well … they were just a total pain in the neck." Which is one of the main reasons Newsome (8-4) is still in the playoffs, traveling to Kissimmee tonight to play Osceola (12-0). After the Wolves started the season 0-3, they have been one of the county's top teams, losing only to Durant during the regular season, but coming back to beat the Cougars 21-14 in last week's region semifinal. Along the way, Newsome has averaged 32.5 points and 366.3 yards (285.5 rushing) a game, and no one has really stopped them or Worth, who only now is experiencing an increase in attention. College football programs still are not beating down Worth's door. He is getting some interest from Navy (where his brother, Joe, is a sophomore) and from some Ivy League schools, but outside of that, not much. It seems recruiters think he might be a tad slow (4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash), and his arm isn't quite up to strength, and his size (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) isn't quite there. Garcia said, "That's just recruiters sticking to their numbers. I think Will Worth has proven he is a great football player. I think he could play somewhere at the next level. Bottom line is that Will Worth is a winner." Rodriguez, like Worth's teammates, is "amazed" at Worth's relative lack of interest from colleges. "Here he is, embarrassing Division I recruits," Rodriguez said. "He's running over them, running past them, tackling them and leading us to victories. "We want Will to receive the praise he deserves. We want the best for him because he has given so much to all of us. I'm honored to have Will Worth as a friend and a teammate, and a college would be smart to get him on their team. I have no doubt about that. No doubt at all."