By Isaac Goodwin
For the Forsyth County News
Led by its defense, Denmark’s football team outclassed Chestatee 58-0 in its Region 7-4A opener Friday night.
The Danes took control early, scoring 44 first quarter points.
Aaron McLaughlin led the Danes offense on a five play, 80-yard opening drive, resulting in a 53-yard touchdown pass to Teddy Davenport.
Denmark (4-0, 1-0 Region 7-4A) took the early 6-0 lead, and the rout was on.
McLaughlin finished the game with 211 yards passing and three touchdowns -- two passing and one rushing. He didn’t play in the second half.
Chestatee’s first two plays from scrimmage were interceptions, one resulting in a Denmark touchdown. Danes defensive back Justin Bradford jumped in front of a screen pass and returned it 20 yards for the score, extending Denmark’s lead to 13-0.
Jalon Beasley recorded the second interception, returning it 18 yards into the red zone. McLaughlin kept a read-option and scampered 18 yards for a touchdown.
After stuffing Chestatee on its ensuing two possessions, Denmark tacked on a 38-yard field goal and capped off a three play, 53-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run by Jordan Brunson. Brunson finished the game with 73 yards and one touchdown on six carries.
The Danes scored again in just two plays on its following drive after McLaughlin connected with tight end Andrew Harvey for 38 yards. A 30-yard touchdown run by Zach Ogbogu followed that, extending Denmark’s lead to 37-0.
“Zach is a kid that’s a great player and does a lot of good stuff,” Denmark head coach Terry Crowder said. “He’s not in the paper very often but he does a great job and I’m proud of him.”
Denmark was dominant in all three phases, including special teams, as the Danes defense forced its sixth three-and-out of the quarter. Justin Bradford blocked and recovered the ensuing Chestatee punt in the end zone for a touchdown. It was Bradford’s second touchdown of the game and capped off the 44-point first quarter.
“We’re starting to click a little bit,” Crowder said. “This was by far Aaron’s best game and the offensive line was moving. We have a chance to be very good.”
Chestatee quarterback Christian Charles never got it going as Denmark pressured him throughout the game. He was sacked four times and was held to six yards on 13 carries. He also threw for 130 yards on 25 attempts.
Charles connected with Seth Pressley for a 34-yard play to start the second quarter, but the drive stalled at midfield as Denmark’s defensive line recorded back-to-back sacks, forcing a seventh punt. The Danes took advantage on the very next play with a 92-yard touchdown pass from McLaughlin to Ze’Vian Capers. Capers caught two passes for 94 yards and one touchdown.
Denmark’s defense forced four turnovers, recorded four sacks and had a punt block in the dominant performance, led by Justin Bradford.
“We played hard tonight and I’m proud of how well we played defensively,” Crowder said. “Everybody is stepping up.”
Denmark took a 51-0 lead into halftime.
Danes’ defensive back George Turnipseed forced a fumble, and Dee Crayton finished an eight play, 50-yard drive for Denmark with a 17-yard touchdown run to start the second half. He was the fourth different Danes’ player to score a rushing touchdown in the game.
“We just have so many weapons on offense,” Crowder said. “It’s really fun when everybody is gelling and that will keep us in a lot of games going forward.”