NAPLES – For a little more than one quarter, Charlotte’s football team looked as though it was going to turn its spring scrimmage game against Palmetto Ridge into a rout. And briefly it had.
But in the end, it took a wing and a prayer for the Tarpons to come away with a win.
Zach Radulesco’s Hail Mary was answered by Ny Harvey, who somehow pulled the pass down in the pile of humanity with no time left to give Charlotte a thrilling 47-43 victory in a game where four touchdowns were scored in the game’s final four minutes.
“It was crazy. Zach scrambled and he threw it up,” Harvey said. “I saw the ball and I was going to jump up but decided not to and it worked in my favor.”
Palmetto Ridge came back from a 28-0 deficit as junior quarterback Jacquez Carter took matters into his own hands putting the Bears back in the game almost by himself.
Carter rushed for 234 yards and four touchdowns and threw for 153 more and another score. But it was DeMarcus Townsend who plunged in with 28 seconds left to give the Bears a 43-41 lead.
After the kickoff, Radulesco completed two passes to get past midfield with two seconds left, setting up the final play.
Despite the crazy finish, Charlotte coach Binky Waldrop said he saw a lot of good things from his young team, as well as from Carter.
“We were executing offensively. We had some breakdowns defensively, but their quarterback is an exceptional athlete. There aren’t that many good dual-threat quarterbacks in this area,” Waldrop said. “We hung in and kept working and I’m proud of that.”
The Tarpons got off to a flying start. On the third play from scrimmage, Andrew Grace took the ball off tackle, broke two tackles and raced in for a 7-0 lead.
Charlotte piled it on from there for the rest of the first quarter. Harvey scored from 35, Grace scored again from 72, and Savarion Warren had a TD run to make it 28-0 early in the second quarter.
At that point, the momentum shifted wildly as Palmetto Ridge rode the back of Carter, whose three TD runs of 33, 7 and 35 yards, to go along with some clutch passing, cut the lead to 28-21 at the half.
The Bears nearly tied the game at the start of the third quarter, but Demarcus Townsend’s 70-yard TD run was called back. The Tarpons recovered and got some cushion back on Warren’s second touchdown, from 39 yards, to make it 35-21.
Carter quickly found Bailey Anderson late in the third to cut the lead to 35-28 before Carter scored his fourth touchdown to give the Bears a 36-35 lead with 3:36 left following Townsend’s two-point run.
Charlotte, with the help of three rushers who carried for more than 100 yards, retook the lead with Harvey rushing it in from 63 yards up the middle to give the Tarpons a 41-36 lead with 2:54 remaining.
Grace rushed for 146 yards on eight carries, Warren had 129 on 13 carries, and Harvey had 132 on five carries with 89 receiving yards, including the game-winner.
“The kids showed tonight we were willing to work hard, we’re physical, and we have a great offensive line. We need to work hard in the summer, try to get better and we’re excited where we’re at,” Waldrop said.
CHARLOTTE 47, PALMETTO RIDGE 43
Charlotte 21 7 7 12 – 47
Palmetto Ridge 0 21 7 15 – 43
CH- Andrew Grace 67 run (Kenny Scribner kick) 10:07
CH – Ny Harvey 35 run (Scribner kick) 6:49
CH – Grace 72 run (Scribner kick) 1:51
CH – Savorion Warren 11 run (Scribner kick) 11:06
PR – Jacquez Carter 33 run (Esequiel Moya kick) 8:50
PR – Carter 7 run (Moya kick) 5:33
PR – Carter 35 run (Moya kick) :33
CH – Warren 39 run (Scribner kick) 2:55
PR – Bailey Anderson 23 pass from Carter (Moya kick) :38
PR – Carter 6 run (DeMarcus Townsend run) 3:36
CH – Harvey 63 run (run failed) 2:54
PR – Townsend 1 run (Moya kick) :28
CH – Harvey 46 pass from Zach Radulesco :00