A hard-fought battle took place between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Charlotte 49ers at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Despite every effort that the Niners gave, they fell short and were defeated by the Mountaineers 56-41 in an epic face-off.
Touchdowns were coming early as the Mountaineers opened up with an 87-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. A couple drives later, the Niners responded with a touchdown of their own by giving it to Benny LeMay. After the two teams traded touchdown drives, the score was 14-13 Mountaineers heading towards the end of the half. After a blocked punt and a strip sack by the Mountaineers, Charlotte trailed 28-13 at halftime.
The second half is when the air attack came alive. Chris Reynolds helped lead the team back into the game by throwing four touchdown passes in the second half. He also had help from Micaleous Elder, Victor Tucker and Cameron Dollar. Reynolds tossed two touchdown passes to Tucker and one touchdown pass to Dollar at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, the Niners were unable to complete the comeback despite many Appalachian State penalties late in the game.
One of the biggest takeaways from this game is how hard the team fought the entire game despite the challenges they faced throughout.
“We responded to adversity and there’s a lot of fight in this football team. We never laid down and that will be an MO of our football team,” said Head Coach Will Healy. “We’ve got a group of really competitive coaches and players and we’re going to fight for 60 minutes. We did that today against a great football team in a great environment and gave ourselves an opportunity to win the thing late.”
The fight that Coach Healy talks about showed itself as they gave the Mountaineers a tough game. The same Mountaineer team that some believe could be a top 25 team in the country. And the fact that the Niners fought as hard as they did against the Mountaineers on their home field with all the adversity is nothing short of impressive.
Reynolds had a slow first half, only completing four of nine passes for 65 yards and zero touchdowns. The second half was a completely different story though. In the second half, Reynolds completed 16 of 22 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. At the end of the day, Reynolds had an exceptional day by throwing a career high 294 yards along with his four touchdowns and completing 20 of his 31 passes.
LeMay had a good night as well. The Doak Walker Award nominee put up 118 yards on just 14 carries. LeMay also had two rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. The two rushing touchdowns helped propel him into third all-time in career rushing touchdowns with 20.
Multiple members of the receiving core showed out to help the Niners in their efforts. Elder lead the team in receiving with 119 yards on six receptions. Tucker had six receptions for 90 yards and two touchdown receptions. Dollar also helped contribute by catching four passes for 53 yards and one touchdown.
The Charlotte 49ers return home as they take on Massachusetts in Jerry Richardson Stadium at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14.