By Ben Martin

The Mint Hill Times

Independence started off the game with four turnovers in the first half but still held off West Charlotte Friday night.

Anthony Carrothers threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball in the first half. Kierre Brown also fumbled a punt return late in the second quarter. Despite the Patriot’s giveaways, West Charlotte was still shutout in the first half. Penalties were tacked on to each interception and the Lion’s offense stalled both times. “We need to be creating turnovers, we just haven’t been playing responsible and defensive football tonight.” said head coach Tom Knotts.

The Patriots limited running back Jalen “Scoot” Simmons and the West Charlotte offense to 169 yards, including 104 on the ground. Independence’s offense ended up with 450 yards for the night.

Running back Nyjee Fleming had a big night for the Patriots on offense. He ran for two touchdowns and turned a screen pass into a 55-yard gain that set up another touchdown early in the second half. He ran for 125 yards Friday night, 92 of which came in the first half. “He runs hard,”said Knotts.”He reminds me of Brian Knuckles back when I was at West Charlotte in the early ’90s.”

Fleming has a lot of potential at the next level if he avoids injuries according to Knotts. “I think he’s an ACC or SEC level back, he’s just got to stay healthy. We’re glad to have him back healthy,” he said.

West Charlotte got a safety after Independence defensive back Santorious Neely intercepted the Lions at the Patriot’s 2-yard line. Jarri McCoy-Williams was sacked in the end zone on the next play.

The Patriots (4-0) will face Vance next week. The game has been moved by CMS to Thursday September 16th due to Friday being a Jewish holiday. Vance (1-2) bounced back from two road losses against East Meck. and Butler to beat Sun Valley 28-10 in their home opener Friday night.

Game Notes:

• Anthony Carrothers rushed for two scores and threw a 75-yard touchdown to Kierre Brown to make up for his three turnovers in the first half. He finished the game with 290 total yards.

• Bill Geiler, the Patriot’s longtime defensive coordinator returned to the sidelines after retiring last winter. “He’s like my security blanket,” said Knotts.

• West Charlotte went without getting a first down in the first half.

• There were no field goal attempts in the game. Both teams went for it whenever they reached fourth and short within field goal range.