Linebacker Antwan Applewhite knew he needed a big night Friday night and knew he’d be on the field enough to make a statement. The former San Diego State star came away from Friday night’s preseason finale at San Francisco 49ers holding his head high, and for good reason. “That’s the way to go out,” Applewhite said. “I left it all out there. Hopefully it was enough.” Applewhite, who just completed his second training camp with the Chargers and spent time on their practice squad last season, had four tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery in the Bolts’ victory. Saturday morning he’ll find out his fate. “I came to camp in a lot better shape this year and I was so much more comfortable with the defense,” Applewhite said. “I felt like I had a strong camp. If it doesn’t work here, hopefully I did enough to earn a job somewhere.” A majority of the Chargers’ starters watched from the sidelines as their younger players carried the load in the Bolts’ 20-17 win. The starters who were on the field played just one series before giving way to reserves and those trying to make a roster. On a team that returns 20 starters from their 2007 squad that advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game, roster spots are at a premium. But Applewhite was not alone in his final impression. Safety Tra Battle came away with two interceptions. Running back Marcus Thomas, the club’s fifth-round draft pick, saw his most extensive action of the preseason and led the club in rushing. Sixth-round pick DeJuan Tribble broke up a pair of passes, and seventh-round selection Cory Clark has drawn praise from Head Coach Norv Turner throughout the summer. Running back Eldra Buckley, a member of the Chargers’ practice squad last year, delivered the game-winning touchdown. “We’ve watched all of these guys very closely for about four months now,” Turner said. “We got our young players a lot of experience and a lot of experience in interesting situations. It was good for them.” Thomas said he’s sure to feel more sore Saturday morning than he has in a while, but he’s hopeful that the soreness is eased by good news in the afternoon. “You work hard all summer and do everything you can,” Thomas said. “It’s a tough deal. All you can do is be confident in the work you’ve done for a while. Then you see how things play out.” Playing safe Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding had an opportunity to make a play on Delanie Walker when the tight end returned the a kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, but Kaeding pulled up and gave Walker a free pass, which was fine with his coaches. “Nate was doing exactly as he was coached,” Turner said. Last December, Kaeding fractured his fibula on his plant leg when attempting to tackle a Broncos kick returner on Christmas Eve. Kaeding promises it was the circumstance, not the situation that caused him to avoid the contact. “I’m still going to stick my nose in there and I won’t shy away from contact,” Kaeding said. “In the final preseason game, I don’t want to risk it. Some of the guys gave me a hard time about it but that’s okay.” Plus 10 The Bolts finished the preseason with a plus-10 turnover margin after picking up four Friday night. Cletis Gordon victimized Alex Smith twice and Battle grabbed a Shaun Hill pass in the third quarter to end a scoring drive. Battle also ended the game by intercepting Hill’s Hail Mary attempt. “We do it in practice and we do it in games,” Turner said. “Good teams take the ball away and it’s something we’ve done very well. That’s encouraging.” The Chargers led the NFL in interceptions a year ago and racked up 11 takeaways in four preseason games this year. In 106 attempts this preseason, none of the Bolts quarterbacks threw an interception.