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Mallard Creek looking in good shape to win state title

It’s time for the playoffs, and it looks as though it’s finally Mallard Creek’s time to shine.

Since the 2000 season began, only four teams have won state titles in the state’s largest classification.

Independence has won seven. Richmond Senior has one. Butler has three and Greensboro Page has one.

This season, Mallard Creek appears to be the class of North Carolina, mainly because it has the kind of wicked defense that’s propelled previous state champions from Mecklenburg County, from South Mecklenburg in 1981 to West Charlotte in 1995 to Butler last season.

In 2013, the Mavericks simply won’t let you score.

Hough and Dillon, S.C., both scored 21 in their losses to the Mavericks, but the other nine teams – combined – have scored but 31 points.

Mallard Creek has shut out two of its past four opponents and shut out four teams altogether.

Mallard Creek also has playoff experience.

Mallard Creek has reached the regional finals the past two seasons . In 2011, the Mavericks blew a big lead and lost 41-27 to Greensboro Page, which eventually won the state championship.

In 2012, the Mavericks lost 27-0 to Butler, which went on to win the N.C. 4AA championship.

In 2013, Mallard Creek looks like the favorite to make a third straight N.C. 4AA Western Regional final. This time, I think the Mavericks will win it.

• Friday night, Hopewell traveled to Kannapolis A.L. Brownand won 19-14, winning a No. 3 MECKA 8 conference seed. It was a return home for two Hopewell coaches. First-year Titans coach Matthew Jenkins is quite familiar with Kannapolis Memorial Stadium, having been defensive coordinator at Brown’s biggest rival, Concord, prior to this season.

Former Central Cabarrus star Natrone Means is Hopewell’s offensive coordinator. In 1989, he helped Central Cabarrus to a win at A.L. Brown and a 10-win season. That’s believed to be the last time Central Cabarrus had won 10 games in a season, until Friday night, when it beat rival Northwest Cabarrus 42-7 to improve to 10-1.

• Providence High offensive lineman Bentley Spain has been selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The game will be played Jan. 4 in San Antonio and broadcast live on NBC. Spain, who has committed to North Carolina, is one of 90 football players from across the country selected, including Charlotte Catholic’s Elijah Hood. Spain will be honored during a presentation at the school at 1:45 p.m. on Nov. 15.

Rocky River’s Elijah Jett, a running back, was invited to the U.S. Army All-American combine for underclassmen Jan. 2-4 in San Antonio.

Staff Writer Corey Inscoe contributed