Charlotte Catholic needed its last drive to be its best.
Chris Walton’s 20-yard strike to Milan Howard with 27 seconds left propelled the Cougars to a 19-14 win against Charlotte Christian Friday at Keffer Stadium, capping a dramatic opening-night battle. Howard’s score, his second of the game, capped a 92-yard drive that soaked up 4 minutes, 27 seconds of drama.
Running backs dominated the game, with Catholic’s Lamagea McDowell accounting for 131 yards on 23 carries while Christian’s Justus Woods rumbled for 142 on 23 tries. In the end, though, Walton, who completed 3-of-8 passes for 20 yards, came up with the key play.
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Christian outgained Catholic 317 yards to 179 in the first half, but three turnovers in Cougars’ territory left the Knights nursing a 14-13 edge at the break. Christian rolled up 197 yards on the ground, including 92 by Woods on 14 carries, but was plagued by a pair of fumbles in scoring position.
Christian put together a pair of effective drives to open the game, but Catholic forced a pair of takeaways deep in Catholic’s end, including an end zone interception by Adam Robbe. The Cougars took advantage of the second miscue by driving 80 yards, climaxed by Howard’s 4-yard run with 28 seconds left in the first quarter.
Christian settled down in the second, responding with Garrett Shrader’s 40-yard scamper to tie the score at 7-7 and Woods’ 1-yard run to put the Knights ahead.
Records: Charlotte Christian 0-1. Charlotte Catholic 1-0.
Worth mentioning: Charlotte Christian quarterback Garrett Shrader completed 13-of-16 first-half passes for 120 yards. Catholic attempted one pass during that span.
What’s next: Christian travels to Myrtle Beach (S.C.). Catholic heads to South Mecklenburg.
Charlotte Christian 0 14 0 0-14
Charlotte Catholic 7 6 0 6-19
Catholic – Milan Howard 4 run (Drew Morais kick)
Christian – Garrett Shrader 40 run (Henry Rutledge kick)
Catholic – Michael Neel 3 run (kick blocked)
Christian – Justus Woods 1 run (Rutledge kick)
Catholic – Howard 20 pass from Chris Walton (run failed)