Mallard Creek running back Jela Duncan and Ardrey Kell's defensive lineman Romeo Okwara, a pair of Shrine Bowl picks, are the Charlotte Observer All-Mecklenburg offensive and defensive players of the year.
Providence Day's Bruce Hardin, who led the Chargers to their first state championship in 25 years, is the All-Mecklenburg coach of the year.
Each year, the Observer names all-star teams for the 127 high schools in its coverage area in North and South Carolina. The All-Region team, released Friday, encompasses schools outside of Mecklenburg County within the newspaper's coverage zone; the All-Mecklenburg team is for the best players in the immediate Charlotte area; and the All-Observer team, which will be released Sunday, is the best players from the entire area.
The teams are picked by the Observer's high school sports staff and players must be nominated from their schools to be considered.
Duncan, a 5-foot-10, 195-pound senior, was the top offensive player on the Mavericks team that was ranked among the top 20 nationally by several publications for much of the season. Duncan, who had a 74-yard scoring run in the Shrine Bowl, finished the year with 2,307 yards on 220 carries and 30 touchdowns. He also caught 27 passes for 465 yards and five scores.
His rushing yards are the fourth-most in Mecklenburg County history. His touchdowns are tied for 12th.
Okwara, a Notre Dame recruit, led his team with 76 tackles, 14 sacks and 27 tackles for a loss. He was credited for 18 quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a blocked kick. He is a two-time first team All-Mecklenburg pick.
Note: The All-Observer team will appear Sunday with the final Sweet 16 football and the Carolinas Top 50 high school football recruits.
FIRST TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Riley Ferguson, Butler, 6-3, 195, Jr.: Completed 184 of 279 passes for 3,345 yards and 48 TDs, setting school records. Passing yardage is 12th-most in county history; TDs rank 7th.
RB: Jela Duncan, Mallard Creek, 5-11, 195, Sr.: Shrine Bowl pick and I-Meck 4A Offensive Player of the Year ran 220 times for 2,307 yards and 30 touchdowns. Caught 27 passes for 465 yards and 5 TDs. Rush yards are fourth-most in county history; TDs rank 12th.
RB: Elijah Hood, Charlotte Catholic, 6-1, 210, So.: Ran for a school-record 1,982 yards on 187 carries (10.6 average) and scored 35 TDs. Yardage is 14th-best in county history; TDs rank third.
WR: Marquez North, Mallard Creek, 6-3, 210, Jr: 36 catches for 922 yards, 10 TDs; ran 18 times for 410 yards and 3 TDs; also had 4 kick returns for of least 87 yards for scores; runs 4.3-second 40.
WR: Zach Ferguson, Butler, 6-3, 205, Sr.: Set school record with 75 catches for 1,161 yards and 15 TDs. Getting recruiting interest from Vanderbilt, The Citadel and Princeton.
WR: Jamel Harbison, Mallard Creek, 5-11, 190, Sr.: Minnesota recruit had 94-yard kick return in Shrine Bowl and finished the season with 44 catches for 810 yards and 13 touchdowns; rushed 22 times for 205 yards and 3 scores.
OL: Mark Harrell, Charlotte Catholic, 6-5, 275, Sr.: All-American committed to Notre Dame anchored line that produced 333 rush yards and 43 points per game. Catholic had 5,197 yards total offense. Three-time all-conference pick and two-time first team All-Mecklenburg pick.
OL: D.J. Humphries, Mallard Creek, 6-6, 275, Sr.: No. 1 recruit in North Carolina has committed to Florida. US Army All-American did not allow a sack during his career.
OL: Casey Blaser, South Mecklenburg, 6-5, 270, Sr.: Duke recruit is a three-year starter who graded out to 87 percent and had 23 pancake blocks. Shrine Bowl pick.
OL: Brandon McNeely, Butler, 6-0, 245, Jr.: Two-time all-Southwestern 4A pick started every game of his junior and senior seasons (29) at left tackle. Anchored line for offense that averaged 46 points and ran up nearly 12,000 yards the past two seasons.
OL: Matt Carrick, Ardrey Kell, 6-2, 285, Sr: Hasn't allowed a sack in two years. Had 37 knockdown blocks this season and two-time All-Mecklenburg pick.
ATH: Uriah LeMay, Butler, 6-3, 200, Jr.: Led Bulldogs in scoring with 19 touchdowns (14 receiving, 5 rush). Had 842 yards receiving (19.5 yards per catch) and 397 rushing (10.4 yards per carry) plus 92 yards on five kick/punt returns. Has ACC/SEC offers.
K: Paul Griggs, Charlotte Latin, 6-1, 195, Sr.: Made 4-of-6 field-goal attempts with a long of 57 yards (a Mecklenburg record) and is third in state history. Purdue recruit made 33-of-37 PATs and is a U.S. Army All-American and made the USA Football U-19 team.
PR/KR: Germone Hopper, Berry, 6-0, 185, Sr.: Clemson recruit and U.S. Army All-American had more than 1,500 all-purpose yards and 26 touchdowns. Four-time all-conference pick holds school records for rushing, punt and kick return yards.
Offensive player of the year: Duncan, Mallard Creek
Defensive player of the year: Okwara, Ardrey Kell
Coach of the year: Bruce Hardin, Providence Day
SECOND TEAM OFFENSE
QB: Will Grier, Davidson Day, 6-3, 185, So.
RB: Denzel Heath, Hopewell, 5-11, 195, Sr.
RB: David Herlocker, Charlotte Catholic, 6-2, 195, Sr.
WR: Austin Duke, Independence, 5-9, 170, Sr.
WR: Dequan Barnes, Independence, 6-2, 200, Jr.
WR: Kedrick Barnes, Berry, 6-0, 175, Sr.
OL: Keena Williams, Mallard Creek, 6-1, 240, Sr.
OL: Swancy Murphy, Charlotte Catholic, 6-1, 315, Sr.
OL: Drew Morgan, Independence, 6-1, 270, Sr.
OL: Harrison Monk, Providence, 6-4, 255, Sr.
OL: Alex Pourlos, Providence Day, 6-2, 235, Sr.
ATH: Terrence Clyburn, North Mecklenburg, 6-2, 200, Sr.
PR/KR: Sidney Lawson, Rocky River, 5-10, 170, Jr.
K: Mitch Lochbihler, Charlotte Catholic, 6-6, 240, Jr.
FIRST TEAM DEFENSE
DL: Ian Dibble, Ardrey Kell, 6-2, 225, Sr.: Southwestern 4A Defensive Player of the Year had 74 tackles, including 26 for loss, plus 10 sacks, 2 pass breakups and an interception. Recruiting interest from Lenoir-Rhyne, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Albany and Yale.
DL: Romeo Okwara, Ardrey Kell, 6-5, 230, Sr.: Led team with 76 tackles, 14 sacks and 27 tackles for loss. Also had 18 QB pressures, 3 pass breakups, a forced fumble and a FG block. Two-time All-Meck pick is a Shrine Bowler and Notre Dame recruit.
DL: Zeron Hubbard, Myers Park, 6-2, 205, Sr.: Finished season with 13.5 sacks, 71 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 2 forced fumbles and a kick block. All-Southwestern 4A pick.
DL: Brandon Jackson, Independence, 5-11, 186, Sr.: 97 tackles and 16 sacks for all-Southwestern 4A selection.
LB: Peter Kalambayi, Butler, 6-3, 235, Jr.: Two-time all-conference performer was a MaxPreps sophomore All-American. This season, finished with 79 tackles, 6 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Recruiting interest from schools like Clemson, Florida and South Carolina.
LB: Nick Dawson, Berry, 6-4, 225, Sr.: U.S. Army All-American had more than 600 yards rushing on offense. On defense, had 87 tackles, including 12 for loss, plus three fumble recoveries and five sacks. Has 15 offer from Bowl Championship Series schools like Auburn, Louisville and N.C. State.
LB: Larenz Bryant, Vance, 6-2, 215, Jr.: Perhaps No. 1 junior LB in the state and has several ACC/SEC offers. Ran for 1,423 yards and 22 touchdowns; had 154 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, four interceptions and three INT returns for a score. Had five forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles.
DB: Jack Brodowicz, Charlotte Catholic, 5-11, 170, Sr.: 66 tackles, including eight for a loss, plus 3 forced fumbles and 6 interceptions. Named ME-GA 7 3A/4A Defensive Player of the Year. Considering Navy, Davidson, Brown and Columbia.
DB: Bryon Fields, Providence Day, 5-10, 175, Jr.: MVP of the private school Division I state championship, Fields ran back five punts for scores, had five interceptions and 43 tackles. Also caught 29 passes for 352 yards.
DB: Channing Stribbling, Butler, 6-2, 175, Jr.: All-Southwestern 4A pick had 28 tackles, 5 interceptions and 6 pass breakups. Had 33 catches for 635 yards. SEC/Big Ten/ACC recruit.
DB: Adam Nix, South Mecklenburg, 5-10, 175, Sr.: 72 tackles, 2 INT, 2 safeties and 3 blocked punts. Rushed for 1,243 yards and 12 TDs on 193 carries and averaged 40 yards on kick returns.
P: Cason Beatty, Olympic, 6-2, 215, Sr.: Florida State recruit averaged 43.1 yards per punt on 32 attempts. He had four punts longer than 60 yards.
SECOND TEAM DEFENSE
DL: Grant Polofsky, Butler, 6-2, 240, Jr.
DL: Brian Duncan, Charlotte Country Day, 6-5, 235, Sr.
DL: Taylor Jurney, SouthLake Christian, 6-1, 200, Sr.
DL: Shaquille Hart, West Mecklenburg, 5-10, 224, Sr.
LB: Keith McAfee, Olympic, 6-1, 235, Sr.
LB: Mychal Turner, Myers Park, 5-11, 190, Sr.
LB: Sean Wiggins, Butler, 6-3, 225, Jr.
DB: Nate Mays, Hough, 5-10, 180, Sr.
DB: Jermiah Rainey, Myers Park, 5-9, 170, Sr.
DB: Tyler Morgan, Ardrey Kell, 5-10, 175, Sr.
DB: Prince Mayela, West Mecklenburg, 5-11, 180, Sr.
P: Corbin Daly, Ardrey Kell, 6-1, 200, So.
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