Charlotte Latin appeared to have lost its game with Charlotte Christian when a field goal in the final minute went wide left.
But that play didn’t count.
Then the Hawks won the game on a touchdown run, but that also didn’t count.
Then Latin won on a field goal, but that one didn’t count either.
Finally, on the final play of the game Friday night, Dave Mosrie kicked a 37-yard field goal that did count, and the Hawks knocked off rival and defending state private school champion Charlotte Christian 24-22.
“They showed a lot of grit, to keep coming back,” said Hawks head coach Justin Hardin, whose team is off to a 5-0 start (1-0 in the Big South 4A). “That’s the kind of team this is.”
The closing minutes of the game — and especially the final minute — were loaded with twists and turns.
The host Knights (2-2, 1-1) rallied from a 14-3 deficit and took a 22-21 lead late in the third quarter on a 74-yard run by Kyron Jones. It was his second big touchdown run of the game.
The Hawks got the ball at their 34 with 5:27 left and moved to the Charlotte Christian 37. Then, on fourth-and-7, Charlotte Latin quarterback Justin Wheeler completed an 11-yard pass to Tyler Hendley.
“That was a big play, converting that fourth down,” Hardin said. “Justin made a clutch throw there.”
The Hawks eventually drove to the 12, and on fourth down, they sent out Dave Mosrie to try a decisive field goal. The kick went wide left, but Charlotte Christian was called for roughing Mosrie, and the Hawks got a first down at the 6.
On the next play, Wheeler ran for a touchdown. But a holding call against the Hawks wiped out that score.
Charlotte Christian’s defense held, forcing Charlotte Latin to try a 32-yard field goal. Mosrie made the kick, but … an illegal procedure penalty against the Hawks erased those three points.
So the Hawks backed up 5 yards, and on the final play of the game, Mosrie converted the kick with about 5 yards to spare.
It was a game of big plays.
The Hawks’ scores included a 93-yard pass from Wheeler to Tyler Hendley midway through the first quarter and an 89-yard punt return by Daniel Houghton in the second period.
The Knights’ Tyron Jones broke loose for scoring runs of 68 and 74 yards.
Hardin said his team’s success this season was built on some tough times last year.
“We started what was essentially a junior varsity team a year ago,” he said. “Those kids worked really hard in the offseason, and it’s paying off now.”
Three who mattered
Justin Wheeler, Charlotte Latin: The Hawks’ junior quarterback completed 14-of-22 passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 43 yards in the second half.
Kyron Jones, Charlotte Christian: A junior, Jones rushed for 161 yards, including touchdowns of 68 and 74 yards.
Daniel Haughton, Charlotte Latin: Haughton had a big night on offense, special teams, and defense. He caught seven passes for 82 yards, including a touchdown. He also returned a punt 89 yards for a score and on defense he had three tackles for lost yardage.
▪ Charlotte Christian had a touchdown and an interception wiped out when a pair of calls went against the Hawks. An apparent 50-yard touchdown run by Ryan Henley midway in the fourth quarter was wiped out by a holding call against the Knights. And in the third quarter, officials ruled that the Hawks’ Haughton caught a pass at the Knights’ 18 — after initially ruling that Charlotte Christian’s Jonathan Montgomery had intercepted the pass. The two wrestled for the ball, but officials eventually ruled in Haughton’s favor. On the next play, Charlotte Latin scored a touchdown.
▪ Charlotte Christian coach Jason Estep protested a number of times during and after the game to officials about penalty calls. He also was upset about the call on the interception-turned-reception. The Knights were whistled 10 times for 111 yards in penalties, including four calls that gave the Hawks first downs.
▪ Charlotte Christian linebacker Danny Stevens had a big night, with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Charlotte Latin defensive end Jordan Pence had a sack and three tackles for lost yardage.
▪ Entering Friday’s game, Charlotte Christian held a 15-10 series lead over Charlotte Latin in games played since 2010. The Knights had won five in a row. Charlotte Latin’s last victory in the series was a big one — a 28-27 triumph on Nov. 11, 2016, in the state championship game.
▪ Charlotte Christian hosts Rabun Gap School next Friday. It’s a conference game, but also a rematch of last season’s 4A state championship game. Charlotte Christian won 27-21.
Charlotte Latin continues Big South 4A play next Friday, hosting Christ School. Charlotte Christian also is at home, facing Big South 4A foe Rabun Gap.
Charlotte Latin 7 7 7 3 — 24
Charlotte Christian 0 3 19 0 — 22
L: Tyler Hendley 93 pass from Justin Wheeler (Davie Mosrie kick)
CC: Benjamin Shropshire FG 32
L: Daniel Houghton 89 punt return (Mosrie kick)
CC: Kyron Jones 68 run (bad snap on conversion)
CC: Grant Tucker 20 pass from Logan Fox (kick blocked)
L: Houghton 18 pass from Wheeler (Mosrie kick)
CC: Jones 74 run (Shropshire kick)
L: Mosrie FG 37