Charlotte, N.C. – The Charlotte 49ers rallied in the second half to take the lead only to see Wesley College return the favor with 14 fourth-quarter points to hand the 49ers a 35-28 loss in Charlotte's final home game of the inaugural season.
Charlotte (4-6), facing its fifth straight nationally-ranked team, suffered its fourth straight loss.
The 49ers were undone by three turnovers on offense and 10-of-17 Wesley third-down conversions on defense.
Wesley (7-2), ranked 20th in the Div. III polls, took a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter on a one-yard touchdown run from Joe Callahan and Callahan’s two-yard pass to Kyle George before Charlotte started its rally.
The Wolverines tried an onside kick after going ahead, 14-0, but the ball went out of bounds at Wesley’s own 39, setting the 49ers up in scoring position. Seven plays later Kalif Phillips rushed 12 yards to give the 49ers their first score and cut Wesley’s lead to 14-7 at the half.
In the second half, Charlotte’s Dmarjai Devine forced and recovered a fumble on the opening kick, again giving the 49ers exceptional field position at the Wesley 22. After three plays yielded no yards, the 49ers lined up for a field goal. Back-up quarterback Lee McNeill, the 49ers holder, however, rolled out to his right and found Mark Pettit alone in the end zone for the score on the fake field goal.
On their next drive, Charlotte took the lead, 21-14, when QB Matt Johnson found CJ Crawford in the end zone for a three-yard score to complete a 10-play, 58-yard drive.
The 49ers forced another punt, and appeared to be moving again. Alan Barnwell rushed for nine yards and then pushed out on a 12-yard run only to fumble at the Wesley 28. The Wolverine’s capitalized with their third touchdown – on an 8-play drive that covered 78 yards. Rick Jackson scored on a two-yard run to knot the score, 21-21.
“We had them on their heels,” Lambert said. “Coming out in the second half, we came out really strong. (After the fake field goal) the momentum went with us. We just didn’t make enough plays today. Defensively, on third down, we just didn’t play very well. We just have to get off the field on third down. We’re not doing that good enough right now.”
On the ensuing drive, which took the game into the fourth quarter, Phillips led the 49ers charge towards the end zone with 36 yards rushing, including bursts of 13 and 16 yards. He scored on a one-yard run for his team-high 10th TD of the season, becoming the first 49er to post double-digits in touchdowns scored.
Wesley responded midway through the fourth quarter with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Callahan to Bryce Shade to tie the score back up at 28 with 8:41 to play.
The team’s traded possessions until Wesley engineered the winning drive, pounding 52 yards on seven plays, with Callahan rushing in from one-yard out for the go-ahead score with 2:14 left to play.
On its final drive Charlotte pushed to the Wesley 28 but stalled on second and five with three straight incomplete passes to give the ball back over to the Wolverines.
The 49ers have an upcoming bye week before completing their inaugural season .at Morehead State, Nov. 23
Honorary #49: Mark Hogan
Flag carriers: Caleb Clayton-Molby; Kalif Phillips; Keaston Sinicki
Captains: Seniors CJ Crawford; Mark Hogan; Mikel Hunter; Zeb Little; Alex Petzke; Brandon Strupp
49ers 3-3 at home
Alan Barnwell (546 yards) surpassed 500 rushing yards this season joining Kalif Phillips as a 500-yard rusher.
Kalif Phillips scored his team-leading 9th and 10th TDs of the season, the first 49er with double-digit TD’s.
Mikel Hunter (514 rec. yards) joined Austin Duke and Trent Bostick as 500-yd. receivers, this year.