The two teams line up before the snap. Photo by Chris Crews

This past Saturday marked the fifth annual Spring Game for the Charlotte 49ers football program. It offered players a platform to show their improvements from the offseason. The game featured four quarters of the offense, in white, going against the defense, in green, using a modified scoring system.

While traditional points were awarded for touchdowns, PAT’s and field goals, points were also given to the White team for an explosive pass, an explosive run and for a first down. The Green team could earn points for forcing a turnover, creating a stop in the Red Zone, a three-and-out, a sack and a tackle for loss.

Head Coach Brad Lambert could be found right near the action on the field, watching the cumulation of players’ hard work pay off.

“This spring, really pleased with the way our guys have progressed. Tonight was a lot of fun. Overall, really pleased with the guys and how hard they played,” Lambert said.

The offense showed its depth during the game, rotating through three quarterbacks: Hasaan Klugh, Brooks Barden and Joe Thompson. Klugh and Barden showed off their arms, throwing for 93 and 61 yards respectively. In his debut Thompson made use of the running game and led the offense in rushing yards, averaging seven yards on his three carries while passing for 35 yards.

Trent Bostick came back onto the field after redshirting last season to complete five catches for 65 yards, leading the receiving corps. After Bostick, came Workpeh Kofa, registering four catches. He was followed by Nate Mullen with three and Uriah LeMay with two completions. The return to the lights was a welcomed experience for Bostick.

“I missed it. Being back on the field, I just appreciate it a lot more. Being out there with those guys and lining up beside them and I see the intensity in their eyes just makes me push forward and go forward,” Bostick said.

Akease Rankin kicked things off for the White team, scoring the first touchdown of the contest with a three-yard run during the first quarter. In the second quarter Robert Washington ended a six-yard run in the end zone. For the final TD of the game, Barden found tight end Ben Jacques for a seven-yard touchdown pass.

The White team posted 274 total offense yards, 189 coming from the air and 85 on the ground.  They capitalized on five of their seven Red Zone opportunities.

On the defensive side of the ball Anthony Butler led the team with seven tackles, six of which were unassisted. Alex Highsmith was a close second, tallying six total tackles. The Green team registered 11 tackles for loss that totaled 40 yards.

Two positions that stood out to Lambert during the offseason were the offensive and defensive lines. As the fall draws closer, Lambert hopes to add some more depth to the slots.

“Those two positions are positions that we need to continue to build and get better,” Lambert said.

Overall Lambert feels that the 49ers’ football team is becoming prepared for their fall schedule. Lambert and his coaching staff have been pushing players this spring in an effort to build them up and create a stronger, more unified team.

“I like the way we’ve been working. We pushed on that. Our guys have responded from January all the way through. I’ve pushed them hard his spring and they’ve responded to that,” Lambert said.

The 49ers will open their season on the road as they travel to Eastern Michigan Sept. 1. Charlotte will open the home portion of their schedule a few weeks later on Sept. 16 when they host North Carolina A&T.

Kathleen Cook is the sports editor of the Niner Times and from Wake Forest, North Carolina. When the junior communication major/journalism minor isn't covering the 49ers, she enjoys spending time with her family, friend, and dog. Kathleen can also be found cheering on the Panthers every Sunday and rooting for the Washington Nationals.