This past Saturday, the Charlotte 49ers took the field and the lights came on for the sixth annual Spring Game. This coming fall season will be Charlotte’s fourth season as an FBS level program and as a member of Conference USA.
“It’s just a matter of people seeing us now for three full seasons in Division One football, so it’s just natural that hopefully you’re recruiting better and getting better players. Sixteen was a good year for us when we had all those old guys from the first class of 2012, so I’ve been proud of our guys since we’ve been here. But, we’ve got to continue to progress and just get better and keep recruiting and getting better and go out and win games,” coach Brad Lambert said. “Every spring game has been really good from my standpoint. You know, you look at the crowd and our fans are hungry, they want us to be succesful, they want us to win and they show up and they cheer for us. So, we’ve got to continue to get better and keep recruiting.”
The Green team, which consisted of first string players, outscored the White team 31-7 with the help of Benny LeMay and redshirt freshman Calvin Camp’s touchdowns and defensive efforts from forces like Alex Highsmith.
LeMay had seven carries for 55 yards and two touchdowns. He was also announced as one of four team captains at halftime.
In the second quarter, Highsmith got hands on White’s QB Joe Thompson, causing him to throw an interception to Denzel Irvin. A 31-yard field goal came out of the play, from John Brosnahan who made his way onto the team after the 2017 season.
“Alex just kind of continued what he’s done all spring. He’s turned into one of the hardest working guys on our team. He came here as a walk-on and really has impacted our team and has really worked himself into a position to be a starter and I’ve just been really proud of him,” Lambert said.
Hasaan Klugh, who spent some time as the Green QB, passed for 42 yards and to LeMay for a 25-yard touchdown run to end the half at 17-0.
Camp went on in the second half to add seven rushes for 109 yards as well as two touchdowns – one off of a 59-yard run. Camp also had two catches for 26 yards and brought Green to their final score of 31 with a 3-yard run early in the fourth.
“It was fun getting back out there and just enjoying it, playing with my teammates. It’s faster so we’ve just got to pick up the face with it. I’m catching on as I go, but there’s still more to learn,” Camp said.
Chris Reynolds saw action as the Green QB and went 3-for-3 for 23 yards on the very first touchdown drive for the Green team. He spread his passes for eight completions across six different players including Workpeh Kofa for 15, LeMay for 14, Camp for 12 and Mark Quattlebaum for 11.
Klugh who alternated with Reynolds for Green a bit, went 5-for-6 passing for 75 yards. Green’s longest reception of the evening came by way of Klugh and an impressive catch from freshman Victor Tucker.
The White team finally put some numbers up when Cade Barnhill had a 36-yard touchdown catch from QB Willie Green in the fourth quarter. Barnhill led all receivers in yardage with two catches for 65 yards.
All of the White QB’s ended the game with a combined 5-for-10 passing for 77 yards and a single touchdown and reception.
All in all, a good day for Niner Nation after an afternoon filled with football and rising excitement for the coming 2018 season of Charlotte 49ers football.
“It was a really fun time to go over and host our own kind of a tailgate and have all of our friends come out and kind of just enjoy a good time before the game. I think the spring game and the nice weather made everyone want to come out and watch our guys together as a part of Niner Nation, it was just really exciting,” sophomore Noah Carlson said.
As the Spring 2018 practice season has come to a close, Charlotte looks ahead to several home games starting with a Sept. 1 game against Fordham, a Sept 8. game against Appalachian State and the Conference USA opener facing Old Dominion.