Denmark High School didn’t make the playoffs during its inaugural football season, but the school will nevertheless get a small taste of postseason action this year.
Forsyth County’s newest high school will be the site of a Class 7A semifinal matchup between Region 5-7A champion Milton and Lowndes on Friday night. The parking lot will open at 4:30 p.m. and kickoff will be at 7:30 p.m. The gates will open at 5:30.
The arrangement came about because Milton, the home team, did not meet the GHSA’s seating requirement of 6,000 for the semifinals. Fulton County’s largest capacity stadium is 3,700 seats, which left Fulton athletic director Steven Craft looking for other options.
Fulton County looked at sites in Cobb County and at Atlanta’s Lakewood Stadium, but did not see any of those options as optimal because of distance. With a brand-new school right up the road, Craft made a call to his neighbors to the north on Saturday, after Milton beat Hillgrove in the state quarterfinals the previous night, and Forsyth County Schools athletic director Nathan Turner agreed to have Denmark as the host site.
“It worked out that we didn't have high school basketball games that night,” Turner said. “Everything just kind of fell into place.”
Turner says that they’ll have to pull in 400 extra seats through temporary bleachers next to each end zone for the bands. Denmark is expecting 30 buses on Friday, but Turner feels like his district is prepared for large-scale events.
“It is nothing we're not used to – West Forsyth had a big crowd with Hewitt-Trussville this year,” he said. “Our stadiums are prepared to handle this, so we're looking forward to helping them pull it off.”
In addition to being the first-ever postseason game played at Denmark, it will be the first time Forsyth County hosts a football semifinal: The 2001 North Forsyth team is the only county team in history to make it that far, but the Raiders played that game, a 35-13 loss to LaGrange, in the Georgia Dome.
When Denmark athletic director Jamie Corr heard about the opportunity from Turner, he jumped at the chance. While his school’s team will not be involved, he still sees it as a great thing for his program and for the community as a whole.
“It'll provide great exposure for our beautiful facilities,” Corr said. “We're excited to serve as a host. This will provide a great experience to hopefully serve us in the future when coach Crowder leads our team to the semis.”