KANNAPOLIS For three-and-a-half quarters, Berry Academy looked like it would finally get its breakthrough victory of the 2013 season.
A.L. Brown had other plans, mounting a furious rally over the final eight minutes to hand the Cardinals a 45-39 loss Friday.
Omar Baker threw for 245 yards and five touchdowns three going to wideout Victor Harris, and two to Kelvin Brim and added 71 rushing yards for Berry (0-3), which held a nine-point lead with less than 10 minutes remaining.
However, the Wonders (3-1) came up with 15 unanswered points, including a 6-yard touchdown run by Jalen Cagle with 1 minute left that put Brown ahead for the first time since late in the first quarter.
Sandon McCoy had 87 yards and three touchdowns for the Wonders, who also got 41 yards and two TDs from Cagle and 78 yards and a score from Casey Walker. Brown finished with 264 rushing yards, 414 yards total offense and 26 first downs.
Brown's rally began after Baker's fifth TD pass of the night, an 18-yarder to Harris on fourth down that put Berry ahead 39-30 with 9:42 remaining.
The Wonders cut that margin to 39-37 on Walker's 4-yard run and Nate Williams' extra-point kick. Brown then tied the score at 39-39 with 2:38 left when their defense sacked Baker twice to force a punt out of the end zone, with the snap going over Brim's head.
The Wonders took advantage of the free kick, getting the ball at the Berry 29 with 2:28 left. The Wonders then drove for the winning score in six plays, capped by Cagle's TD run.
Baker had led Berry to a 32-24 halftime lead behind his arm, throwing TD passes of 4 and 28 yards to Brim in the first quarter, and 5 and 35 yards to Harris in the second quarter. Brim also had a 73-yard kickoff return for a score.
Brown also showed lots of offense early, with Damon Johnson getting the start at quarterback throwing a 58-yard TD pass to Rodney Edmonds in the first quarter. The Wonders also got an 11-yard TD run from McCoy and a 12-yarder from Cable to lead 18-13 at the end of the period. McCoy also had a 4-yard TD run in the second quarter.
Kiser: 704-895-3662; Twitter: @Bkiser_CLTObs.
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