Saturday, October 14, 2023

Navy Sinks Charlotte's Homecoming in Punt-Dominated Afternoon Action

CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte 49ers went into Saturday’s homecoming matchup against Navy looking for their first win as a member of the American Athletic Conference. Standing in their way were the Midshipmen from the US Naval Academy. In a game marked by stellar defensive play and a total of twenty punts, the visiting Navy squad was able to sail away with a 14-0 win over the 49ers in front of a sellout crowd.

An uneventful first half saw both teams punting six times while their offenses struggled to find rhythm. The second half started as the first half ended, but the stalemate was finally broken on a busted coverage by the Charlotte defense. When Navy quarterback Braxton Woodson, in a relief role after starter Tai Lavatai was injured early in the game, hit an open Eli Heidenreich in the middle of the secondary, the sophomore raced sixty-nine yards to the end zone to give the visiting Midshipmen a 7-0 lead.

It took until the fourth quarter for more points to be scored. A fumble by Charlotte set up Navy with good field position and the Midshipmen took advantage of another defensive miscue as Alex Tecza took a simple dive play up the middle and sprinted sixty-two yards to set the final margin for the game.

Demetrius Knight II led Charlotte with seven total tackles and Nikhai Hill-Green added five solo tackles and a sack. Aside from the two long touchdown plays, the Charlotte defense stymied Navy’s triple-option offense, forcing seven three-and-outs and eleven punts. Although the Charlotte offense never found the end zone, Shadrick Byrd effectively ran the ball, tallying ninety-two yards on the afternoon.

Up Next

Charlotte travels to Greenville to take on East Carolina in the first-ever football game between the two in-state conference foes. Both teams are looking for their first conference win of the season. Kickoff is set for 2 pm.