High-SchoolFootball: Lithonia M.L. King

Inside the FAB 50: Dueling Duncans

November, 22, 2011
Chris WormleyChantel Jennings/ESPN.com The Whitmer (Ohio) defense has limited nine opponents to seven points or fewer thanks to Michigan commit Chris Wormley, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound all-state defensive end.

They may be hundreds of miles apart, but it’s hard to dispute the similarities of running backs Jela Duncan of FAB 50 No. 13 Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) and Jalen Duncan of FAB 50 No. 19 Carmel (Carmel, Ind.).

As the ad says, America runs on Dunkin, but Mallard Creek and Carmel run with Duncan.

Jela Duncan, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound senior, bolted for 191 yards on 22 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns when Mallard Creek defeated Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C.) 42-10 last Friday in the Class 4AAA state quarterfinals.

Jela also was a standout as a junior with nearly 1,400 yards rushing and 17 touchdowns. He’s already surpassed those totals this season and is looking at college offers from Duke, Pitt, Purdue, South Carolina and others

Jalen Duncan, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound senior, has emerged as one of the top players in Indiana. He didn’t have a junior season quite like Jela Duncan in North Carolina, but is making up for it this fall.

In Carmel’s 21-17 victory over Center Grove (Greenwood, Ind.), Jalen led the way with 22 carries for 132 yards and three touchdowns. He does not yet have any reported college offers, but is receiving interest from a few Big Ten schools and the Mid-American Conference.

Both Duncans also will need to stay productive in major contests for their teams this week. Jela’s team faces 13-0 Page (Greensboro, N.C.) in the state semifinals while Jalen’s team is going up against 14-0 Penn (Mishawaka, Ind.) in the Class 5A state championship at Lucas Oil Stadium.


Jonquel Dawson, M.L. King (Lithonia, Ga.)

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior quarterback has led the Lions to a 12-0 record and No. 22 ranking in the FAB 50.

Last week, in Class AAAAA state playoff eliminations, he passed for 344 yards and three scores to lead a 27-21 overtime victory over defending state titlist Brookwood (Snellville, Ga.).

The three touchdown passes gave Dawson 92 for his career and puts him in a three-way tie for second-place on the all-time state charts. Dawson, who has completed 186 of 314 passes for 2,891 yards and 35 touchdowns this season, could threaten the state record of 103 TD tosses set from 2007-10 by Nick Marshall of Wilcox County (Rochelle, Ga.). This week's playoff opponent is Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.).


No. 41 Whitmer (Toledo, Ohio)

The 13-0 record Panthers are the only unbeaten team competing in this week’s Division 1 semifinals in Ohio.

Whitmer, which lost to eventual state champion Lakewood St. Edward in the 2010 semifinals, advanced last weekend with a convincing 37-0 blanking of Wadsworth (Wadsworth, Ohio). Whitmer's semifinal foe Saturday in Mansfield is 10-time state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius.

The Panthers, who are seeking their first state crown, are led on offense by all-state running back Jody Webb, who rushed for 992 yards and 24 touchdowns in the regular season. He runs behind a line anchored by 6-foot-8, 300-pound tackle Storm Norton, a University of Toledo recruit.

The Whitmer defense, which has limited nine opponents to seven points or less, is led by University of Michigan recruit Chris Wormley, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound all-state defensive end. Whitmer is the sixth Ohio team to be listed as the Rising Newcomer this season as the Buckeye State has been the scene of several power changes with upsets for a number of ranked teams.

Other 'Risers' from Ohio have included Hilliard Davidson, Mentor and three Cincinnati teams -- Moeller, St. Xavier and Colerain.

LOOKING AHEAD: Leaders in the Clubhouse

As the Thanksgiving weekend concludes, there could be as many as nine teams that will have locked up final positions in the last FAB 50 rankings of the season.

Two teams already are finished and have put the capper on a championship – No. 6 Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) and No. 25 Gilman (Baltimore). In golfing terms, Good Counsel also could be called our leader in the clubhouse to be No. 1 for the final rankings. It’s not likely, though, that all five teams ahead of coach Bob Milloy’s team will lose.

The other seven FAB 50 teams are all favored to win state titles over the next weekend, but history says that probably one or two will get upset.

Two of those seven are in Arizona where No. 11 Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.) and No. 32 Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) also are going for multiple titles in a row. The other five are No. 19 Carmel (Carmel, Ind.); No. 31 Christian Brothers (St. Louis); No. 39 Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.); No. 43 Detroit Catholic Central (Novi, Mich.); and No. 47 Wayzata (Plymouth, Minn.).

We can’t say that both No. 39 Allen (Allen, Texas) and No. 46 Warren Central (Indianapolis) have wrapped up final spots in the FAB 50 even though both teams are done for the season. This is because both teams’ final placement is dependent on how the teams they lost to fare later on in the playoffs.

ESPNHS Football Players of the Week

November, 9, 2011
(After games of Nov. 10-11)

One player is chosen from each region of the country. The only other criteria is that no player will be chosen more than once during a season.


Ryan Switzer, George Washington (Charleston, W.Va.)

This junior two-way player stars at running back, defensive back and returns kicks and punts. His versatile game was on full display in a 56-12 romp of Parkersburg (W. Va.) to cap a 10-0 regular season and secured the team’s 26th straight regular season win. Possibly the state's top college prospect, and top contender for the Kennedy Award as state player of the year, he ran 20 times for 333 yards and six touchdowns (28, 64, 2, 55, 74 and 35 yards) and scored a seventh touchdown on a 51-yard punt return. He also caught a 20-yard pass and booted a 40-yard punt. For the season, he has 32 TDs and 192 points.


Blake Tibbs, M.L. King (Lithonia, Ga.)

In a clash of unbeaten FAB 50-ranked rivals, the Lions outlasted Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) 50-49 in a game decided by his 82-yard kickoff return touchdown with 16 seconds remaining. The University of Georgia recruit earlier had landed four touchdown passes and had 166 receiving yards on nine catches in the offensive shootout that decided the Region 2, Class AAAAA title. For the season, Tibbs has caught 53 passes for 782 yards and 14 scores.


Drake Johnson, Pioneer (Ann Arbor, Mich.)

The senior running back who committed to hometown University of Michigan just this week wouldn't mind playing Bedford (Temperance, Mich.) every weekend. In two games against the Mules this season, the two-time defending state high hurdle track champion amassed 743 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Last weekend, in a 35-10 district playoff final, Johnson carried 36 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns and also completed a 42-yard pass. In an early regular-season game, Johnson rushed for 395 yards and five scores. On the season, he has 2,742 yards and 37 touchdowns.


Davonte Clay, Washington (Sioux Falls, S.D.)

The senior running back lifted the Warriors past the state’s top-ranked team, Lincoln (Sioux Falls, S.D.), 42-7 in the Class 11AA state semifinals. Clay helped Washington (9-2) break a 7-7 halftime tie and avenge an earlier loss with 38 carries for 282 yards and five touchdowns. After rushing for 1,284 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior, Clay has bettered those totals with 1,377 yards and 19 touchdowns heading into this week’s state championship at the Dakota Dome. Clay and his teammates face 10-1 Roosevelt (Sioux Falls, S.D.) and are attempting to win a third straight state title in their fifth straight Dakoka Dome appearance. If the Warriors win, they also would increase their national record total of winning state championships to 39.


Logan Smith, Vista del Lago (Folsom, Calif.)

With 14 catches for 211 yards and one touchdown in his team’s 47-10 victory over El Dorado (Placerville, Calif.), Smith has tied the state record for most catches in a season. According to the ESPNHS Cal-Hi Sports state record book, Smith needs just one more catch to break the state record of 122 set last year by Richard Mullaney of Thousand Oaks. The senior receiver earlier broke the regular-season state record of 106 set two years ago by Jake Pruger from Harbor of Santa Cruz. The win also gave Vista del Lago a high seed in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III playoffs so Smith’s season will continue. For the season, Smith has 122 catches for 1,646 yards and 11 scores. He set a Northern California record on Sept. 23 with 24 catches for 318 yards in a victory against Liberty Ranch of Galt.