University City

Mallard Creek Mavericks score in national rankings

As Mallard Creek's victories continue to mount on the football field, the honors and accolades keep piling up.

The Mavericks are North Carolina's highest-ranked team, having climbed to No. 9 in the country, according to the national high school website

After knocking off two-time defending state 4A champion Butler in the opening round, the Mavericks have cruised to an undefeated record and the highest national ranking in school history.

Two of the Mavericks' biggest offensive stars, tailback Jela Duncan and wide receiver Jamel Harbison, have been named to represent North Carolina at the annual Shrine Bowl. The 75th annual high school all-star game will be Dec. 17 at Gibbs Stadium on Wofford University's campus.

The Shrine Bowl is the oldest high school all-star game, and pits the best senior players from North Carolina and South Carolina against each other. The first game was played in Charlotte in 1937; it has been played every year since.

Duncan and Harbison will join some of the top talent from the Carolinas, many of whom will go on to play Division I football and beyond.

The game has featured well over 100 players who have gone on to play in the NFL, including current NFL stars Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Spikes, Armanti Edwards, Mohamed Massaquoi, Richard Seymour, Julius Peppers, Mario Williams and Sidney Rice.

Duncan is among the leaders in rushing, having amassed more than 2,000 yards on the ground. Duncan has 27 touchdowns on the year and racked up six scores in the Mavericks' second-round playoff win over Ardrey Kell.

Duncan is attracting major Division I scholarship offers and has received offered by Duke, East Carolina, Pittsburgh, Purdue, South Carolina, Wake Forest and several others.

Harrison, who has committed to Minnesota, is a game-changing wide receiver and kick returner. He often lines up as a running back, receiver, defensive back or kick and punt returner, and he has thrown several touchdowns in his career.

The jack-of-all-trades has amassed more than 700 yards receiving and has scored 12 touchdowns this year. He also is a star on the baseball field.

Both Harbison and Duncan have played key roles for the Mavericks' high-powered offense that averages more than 50 points per game.

Hopewell linebacker Denzell Heath is the only other player selected from the I-Meck 4A conference. As a whole, the Charlotte area is well represented with talent from all around the city and surrounding towns represented.