High-SchoolNorth-Carolina: Chris Mangus

Ferguson, Beecher reach elite level on gridiron

September, 21, 2011
Quarterbacks rule in this week's edition of the North Carolina All-State Football stock watch, as one signal-caller has entered the national discussion for player of the year while the other gunslinger keeps putting up huge numbers through the air. Scary thing is, both are only juniors.

UP — Riley Ferguson, Butler QB
Ferguson told me his team's season-opening loss was his worst game ever and ever since then, he's been driven to redeem himself. Let's just say he's done a pretty good job. In not even a full four quarters, Ferguson threw for 265 yards and five touchdowns. Then to top things off, the junior caught his first touchdown pass in the Bulldogs' 77-14 win against Myers Park. On the season, Ferguson now has 1,148 passing yards and 17 total touchdowns, earning him consideration for the ESPNHS Mr. Football USA award.

DOWN — Keith Marshall, Millbrook RB
It's been a rough past two weeks for our ESPNHS September cover boy, as defenses continue to key in on Marshall. And what else would you expect when playing against the nation's top running back? In each of his last two games, Marshall has failed to reach 100 yards rushing, and last week, he was outgained 116 to 43 by Broughton standout senior RB Chris Mangus. Marshall's track record has earned him such attention, and with his gamebreaking speed, it won't be long before he's back to his old ways of piling up yards and touchdowns.

UP — B.J. Beecher, Concord QB
This junior has put up big numbers all season, so last week's output was no surprise. Beecher completed 16 of his 22 throws for 253 yards and three scores in the Spiders' fourth win of the season. With that effort, Beecher pushed his season totals to 1,218 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Week 5 NC Football: Hillside, Southern battle for Durham supremacy

September, 16, 2011
We're five weeks into the football season, which is around the time the contenders begin to separate from the pretenders. Here's what to watch out for this weekend:

Hillside (3-1) at Southern Durham (2-2)
Southern Durham is desperately in need of a win after dropping two straight games, and as a result, out of the top 10. On the other hand, Hillside has played well since falling in its opener. The defending 4A champs have been led by running back Khris Francis on offense and All-State DL Jamal Marcus on defense, making for a balanced attack. Most of Marcus' focus tonight will be on Southern Durham QB Dorian Belcher. who has played well despite the Spartans' struggles. In last week's overtime loss to Dunbar, Belcher finished with 224 yards and three touchdowns. Southern will put up a fight, but it won't be enough to take down a surging Hornets squad.
My pick: Hillside 24, Southern Durham 21

Nash Central (4-0) at New Bern (3-1) Ever since defeating two-time defending 2A state champ Tarboro to start the season, Nash Central has been on a tear. Credit quarterback Jalen Hendricks, who has excelled as a dual threat with 658 total yards, six touchdowns and zero turnovers. New Bern's offense has been just as electric of late. After giving up 51 points in a loss to Havelock, the Bears have put up 114 points (!) in their last two games. Though I doubt they'll put points at the same ridiculous rate, expect the 4A Bears to extend their win streak against the 3A Bulldogs.
My pick: New Bern 30, Nash Central 24

Millbrook (3-1) at Broughton (1-2)
Millbrook should have the advantage in this contest, but the main intrigue comes at the tailback position. Of course, Millbrook boasts the nation's top running back in Keith Marshall, our cover boy for the ESPNHS September mag. Meanwhile, Broughton is led by recent Va. Tech commit Chris Mangus, who had 251 rushing yards and three scores in leading the Capitals to their first win of the season.
My pick: Millbrook 24, Broughton 17 (Oh, and I've got Marshall winning the yardage battle against Mangus)

Myers Park (3-1) at No. 2 Butler (3-1)
Who would have thought these two teams would have the same record when they met up? Myers Park is off to its best start since 2005, when it ended up reaching the state semifinals, but Butler is...well, Butler. Minus a few lapses, the Bulldogs have looked like their scary selves since losing to No. 1 Mallard Creek. Expect the four-headed offensive monster of QB Riley Ferguson, RB Josh Glisson and WRs Uriah LeMay and Zach Ferguson to keep chugging along.
My pick: Butler 40, Myers Park 21

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Mangus, Love highlight NC All-State stock watch

September, 7, 2011
It's time for the All-State Stock Watch, as we look at All-State football players who saw their potential value rise or fall over the past week. A player could have performed well in a game, gotten a big-time scholarship offer, broken his leg or just had an off game. (Hey, it happens to the best of us.)

Here are the movers and shakers from week three:

UP — Chris Mangus, Broughton RB
Despite his team losing its second straight game to start the season, last weekend didn't turn out so bad for Mangus. The senior tailback did all he could in the Capitals' 37-13 loss to Garner on Thursday, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns. A day later, Mangus made his college decision, committing to a Virginia Tech program that is known for churning out solid running backs.

DOWN — Jonathan Bullard & Rhaheim Ledbetter, Crest DL & DB
Yes, it takes 11 players to make up an entire defense, but with these two top recruits leading the Chargers attack, some have been surprised by Crest's 1-2 start. The Chargers have surrendered 42 points in their two losses. Still, there's a silver lining. Crest's first loss came against a tough Burns squad and last week's occurred in a 9-3, defensive battle versus rival Shelby. Ledbetter, a Florida recruit, and the uncommitted Bullard have shown glimpses of their immense talent, and an offense that features seven returning starters should soon be fully acclimated to their new run-first spread scheme.

DOWN — Chris Love, Wake Forest-Rolesville RB
After losing a shocker to East Wake on a fake field goal in double overtime, the Cougars were in search of a spark to get back on track. Love provided it, rushing for 145 yards and two touchdowns in WF-Rolesville's 37-19 win against Northern Durham. A similar effort from the junior will be welcomed and needed against a solid Southeast Raleigh squad on Friday.

Brandon Parker covers North Carolina for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.