By MacKenzie Bates
For the Forsyth County News
In the Denmark football team’s Region 7-4A opener against Chestatee on Friday night, quarterback Ben Whitlock and receiver Ze’Vian Capers were in sync like a phone’s Bluetooth connection to a car.
The duo connected on six passes for 141 yards and five touchdowns, including three in the first half, as Denmark spoiled the War Eagles' homecoming with a 61-47 win in Gainesville.
Whitlock found Capers on scores of 24, 54 and 26 yards in the first 24 minutes and two more from 21 and four yards out, respectively.
“When you have a receiver like Z, it just helps,” Whitlock said. “You know you can just throw it up and trust him to get it anytime.”
“We just came out and executed,” Capers said. “Ben and the offensive line did what they needed to do.”
Whitlock, who threw for five TDs in Denmark’s game against North Springs, had six scoring plays. He finished the night with 425 yards through the air on 19-of-36 passing.
“There were times we just had to look up and go, ‘wow’,” Coach Terry Crowder said. “Ben is doing a lot of really good things, and we put a lot on his shoulders. He’s responded well.”
“When he’s on, he’s really, really good.”
It took two plays on the Danes opening drive for them to score. Whitlock found Teddy Davenport on an 81-yard touchdown as an opener to Davenport’s six-catch, 162-yard performance.
“Teddy is a great slot receiver to have,” Whitlock said. “When they’re going to double up Z, we know Teddy is going to be open underneath, and that’s what we saw tonight.
Danes running back Devin DuCille had 84 yards on 18 carries, including a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
After the Danes’ defense forced a three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Harrison Halder picked the War Eagles Punt off the leg and ran it in for a touchdown.
Chestatee would get on the board in the second quarter. Quarterback Christian Charles would orchestrate a drive that he capped off with a seven-yard touchdown run. On the War Eagles’ next possession, Charles threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Seth Pressley after the ball was tipped right in to his receiver’s hands.
Charles carried the ball 25 times for 165 yards. He accounted for 531 of the War Eagle’s 542 yards of total offense. He was 28-of-46 for 354 yards with four touchdowns through the air.
Chestatee would make a game of it in the third quarter, cutting the lead to seven before Capers’ fourth TD.
Denmark accounted for nine sacks, which Crowder credited to the team’s game plan.
“You don’t really know until you get on the field with a kid like that,” Crowder said. “I thought (Nick) Carozza and (Zach) Burchfield probably had one of their best games. (Arthur) Marsden was an animal.”
It’s the school’s first regionwin its short program history.
Capers said he and his team will enjoy the victory, but they know next week’s home contest against West Hall will be another big test.
“We’re expected to come out and execute like we did tonight,” Capers said. “It’s going to be a good matchup, and we know they’re a good team. If we get off to a 2-0 start in the region, that will be good for us.”