By Kurt Main
For the Forsyth County News
Denmark generated its first points of the season Friday, but it wasn’t enough as the Danes fell 38-27 to Lanier.
On a night that saw the return of Aaron McLaughlin to Denmark’s lineup, it didn’t take long for the standout QB to get things going.
After several completions to WR Teddy Davenport, McLaughlin unleashed a 40-yard TD pass to WR Casey Gunn for an early 7-0 lead.
On the next possession, Lanier took the ball downfield but was halted by the Denmark defense and settled for a field goal, making it 7-3.
After several three-and-outs by both teams, the Longhorns – powered by a huge offensive line – drove the ball downfield and Tyler Washington took it in from 3 yards out to give Lanier the lead 10-7.
McLaughlin gave the lead back to the Danes shortly after on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Azari Brown.
After a couple of Trey Glymph field goals gave Denmark a 20-10 lead, Lanier QB Andrew Blackford threw a perfect touchdown pass to the back of the end zone, narrowing the Danes’ lead to 20-17.
Once again, after utilizing the size and quickness on the left side of their offensive line, the Longhorns were able to drive the ball downfield, cultivating in another TD pass by Blackford giving the Longhorns a 24-20 lead.
After driving down to the 20-yard line and having his helmet knocked off by a Lanier defender, McLaughlin threw an interception in the end zone, giving Lanier the ball back.
With the Denmark’s defense holding and forcing Lanier into a punt, McLaughlin was determined to make amends for his earlier mistake. On the first play from scrimmage, McLaughlin took the ball around the left side and scored from 41 yards out, giving Denmark a 27-24 lead.
Both defenses were tough on the offenses for back-to-back series, but unfortunately for the Danes, RB Bryan Williams took off on the right side of the line and never looked back as he scored from 55 yards out for a Longhorn lead of 31-27.
A mistake by Denmark’s receiving team on the ensuing kickoff gave the Danes the ball on their own 4-yard line. After a couple of plays, McLaughlin found a receiver deep downfield for a 60-yard completion, only to have it called back because of a holding penalty.
McLaughlin tried to rally his team deep in their own territory, but with time not on their side and a Lanier team that could smell victory, the desperate quarterback not wanting to take a sack in the end zone, tried throwing the ball away, only to be intercepted at the 4-yard line.
On the very next play from scrimmage, Washington took it around the right side and scored the final touchdown.
“This team is young and undersized, but we didn’t quit,” Denmark head coach Mike Palmieri said. “We lost a lot of seniors last year, but we played as hard as we could. We have played four extremely talented teams right out of the gate and had a chance to maybe win one or two, but we’ll get there.”
Palmieri was extremely happy to have McLaughlin back at the helm, and knowing Palmieri’s past record of championships, it will not take long for this team to be where he wants them to be.
Denmark will open region play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at North Forsyth.