High School Sports

Inside Mecklenburg County prep football: players, games to watch, notes

Mallard Creek Mavericks linebacker Kalen Allen is one of the Observer’s Mecklenburg County players to watch for 2017.
Mallard Creek Mavericks linebacker Kalen Allen is one of the Observer’s Mecklenburg County players to watch for 2017. jsiner@charlotteobserver.com

Here is a look at Mecklenburg County public school football for 2017.

10 Players To Watch

Name

School

Pos.

Class

Comment

Kalen Allen

Mallard Creek

LB

Sr.

Part of a huge defensive front for Mavericks, 9-3 last season

DeAngelo Blair-Young

South Mecklenburg

RB/LB

Sr.

Top 2-way star had 12 rushing touchdowns, 85 tackles last season

Elijah Bowick

Myers Park

WR

Jr.

National recruit caught 68 passes for 1,180 yards in ’16

Dyami Brown

West Mecklenburg

WR

Sr.

UNC commit is generally considered state’s best receiver

Quavaris Crouch

Harding

RB

Jr.

Ranked as the nation’s No. 1 recruit in 2019 at his position

Tyus Fields

Hough

DB

Jr.

A top 10 N.C. recruit in junior class; had 7 rush TDs, 2 INTs in ’16

Luke Hefferly

Ardrey Kell

QB

Sr.

Threw for 2,158 yards, 24 TDs last season

Khamal Howard

Myers Park

RB

Sr.

2-time Southwestern 4A player of the year at East Meck

Nijere Peoples

Butler

RB

Sr.

Latest in long line of star RBs at school; rushed for 1,351 yards, 28 TDs in ’16

Emmanuel Wilson

North Mecklenburg

RB

Sr.

Big back (6-0, 205) rushed for 1,450 yards, 14 TDs in ’16

Notes

▪ First-year Ardrey Kell coach Kyle Brey is the son of Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey. He takes over a 6-6 team that returns 10 starters and 30 lettermen. The Knights, however, have a very tough schedule with games against state powers such as Weddington and Charlotte Catholic among its first seven.

▪ Butler and Mallard Creek have been the county’s longstanding powers for several years, but are rebuilding. Butler returns eight starters; Mallard Creek just five. Another regional power, Vance, returns six starters, including star linebacker Gerald Nathan.

▪ Transfers will play a big role in county football this season. Among them: Myers Park RB Howard and QB Brayden Hawkins. Hough has all-state wide receiver Nolan Groulx (108 catches, 1,853 yards, 24 TDs in ’16).

3 Can’t Miss Games

Mallard Creek at Scotland County, Thursday: The Mavericks, known for size and defense, will try to stop Scotland County’s Zamir White, the nation’s No. 1 senior running back. White has committed to Georgia.

Butler at Richmond Sr., Sept. 8: Two traditional powers have produced some memorable games over the years. The past few have often been high scoring.

Mallard Creek at Vance, Sept. 22: Schools are close to each other and kids know each other. This is fast-becoming one of the county’s top rivalry games.

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