By Bryan Levine, SunCoast Sports
IN A NUTSHELL: Charlotte went 65 yards down the field on three plays on the opening drive, and never looked back. Maleek Williams scored three touchdowns, totaling 101 yards on the ground to lead all rushers. The Tarpons would build a 28-0 lead before surrendering their first points, but never let Lely get close, as there was a running clock early in the third quarter.
DID YOU SEE THAT: Lely was probably feeling good after it scored its first touchdown with 5:10 remaining in the second quarter, but Jacob White quickly put an end to that. The senior returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards to the house, and completely stifled any momentum the Trojans had built up.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: D’Vonte Price ran a 42-yard end around to put Charlotte in the red zone already up 14-0. Price likely ran somewhere around 80 yard on the play, as stiff arms, cut backs to the center of the field, and jukes back towards the sideline helped set up his eventual three-yard touchdown for a 21-0 lead.
UNSUNG HEROES: In a game where the offense was so dominant, it would be easy to overlook how well the defense did. Dalton Mills and Daniel Frederique consistently put pressure on Lely QB Jacquez Carter all game. The duo were each rewarded with 1.5 sacks, and the Tarpons had a team-total of five on the night.
THEY SAID IT I : “That’s what we wanted to do tonight: we started fast. That’s what great teams do. We’ve got to do that every Friday night.” — Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop.
THEY SAID IT II: “Just to play football on my birthday was a present, and the weather finally gave us no delays. That was awesome. I couldn’t have asked for a better present.” — Charlotte quarterback Dee Hicks.
CHARLOTTE 42, LELY 13
Lely 0 6 7 0 — 13
Charlotte 21 14 7 0 — 42
CH —Maleek Williams 15 run (Kenny Scribner kick), 11:06
CH — Williams 4 run (Scribner kick), 8:43
CH — D’Vonte Price 3 run (Scribner kick), 3:11
CH — Price 58 from Hicks (Scribner kick), 9:25
L — Jean Joseph 23 pass from Jacquez Carter (kick failed), 5:10
CH — Jacob White 88 kick return (Scribner kick), 4:55
CH — Williams 37 run (Scribner kick), 8:17
L — Joseph 74 pass from Carter (Noah Reich kick), 4:30
First Downs 9 15
Rushes/yds 20-54 32-240
Passing yds 200 126
C-A-I 12-27-1 4-6-0
Fumbles/lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties/yds 4-25 2-20
Rushing: Lely: Marc Noel 6-21, Jacquez Carter 9-12, Watson Marcelin 1-9, Andy Duprat 3-9, Taejon Wright 1-3; Charlotte: Maleek Williams 12-101, D’Vonte Price 4-60, Andrew Grace 2-25, Dee Hicks 3-15, Tristian Lowe 4-19, Savorian Warren 2-12, Ny Harvey 2-6, Anthony Fisher 1-4, Lavell Cudjo 1-3.
Passing: Lely: Carter 12-27-200-2; Charlotte: Hicks 4-6-126-1
Receiving: Lely: Jean Joseph 5-118, Wright 3-64, Nelson Charelus 1-8, Jason Jean 2-8, Noel 1-2; Charlotte: Jacob White 2-64, Price 1-58, Grace 1-4.