Ferguson, Beecher reach elite level on gridiron

Quarterbacks rule in this week's edition of the North Carolina All-State Football stock watch, as one signal-caller has entered the national discussion for player of the year while the other gunslinger keeps putting up huge numbers through the air. Scary thing is, both are only juniors.

UP — Riley Ferguson, Butler QB

Ferguson told me his team's season-opening loss was his worst game ever and ever since then, he's been driven to redeem himself. Let's just say he's done a pretty good job. In not even a full four quarters, Ferguson threw for 265 yards and five touchdowns. Then to top things off, the junior caught his first touchdown pass in the Bulldogs' 77-14 win against Myers Park. On the season, Ferguson now has 1,148 passing yards and 17 total touchdowns, earning him consideration for the ESPNHS Mr. Football USA award.

DOWN — Keith Marshall, Millbrook RB

It's been a rough past two weeks for our ESPNHS September cover boy, as defenses continue to key in on Marshall. And what else would you expect when playing against the nation's top running back? In each of his last two games, Marshall has failed to reach 100 yards rushing, and last week, he was outgained 116 to 43 by Broughton standout senior RB Chris Mangus. Marshall's track record has earned him such attention, and with his gamebreaking speed, it won't be long before he's back to his old ways of piling up yards and touchdowns.

UP — B.J. Beecher, Concord QB

This junior has put up big numbers all season, so last week's output was no surprise. Beecher completed 16 of his 22 throws for 253 yards and three scores in the Spiders' fourth win of the season. With that effort, Beecher pushed his season totals to 1,218 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.