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Football: Denmark pulls off another stunning rally
Ryan McDaniel 09-23-22
Denmark's Ryan McDaniel (19) breaks up a pass intended for a Dacula player during a non-region matchup Friday in Gwinnett County. (Courtesy of Gwinnett Daily Post)

Courtesy of Gwinnett Daily Post

The Denmark Danes shocked Dacula, 28-25, on homecoming night in front of a packed Falcons crowd on Friday.

The Danes trailed 18-0 at halftime and 25-7 after three quarters before a furious rally that extended their win streak to four games. All four wins have been within a four-point margin.

A punt return by Che Ojarikre gave Denmark (4-1) its first lead of the game, and the 2-point conversion put the visitors up by three. Denmark's Dee Crayton intercepted Dacula quarterback Garrison Cantrell on the last drive, sealing the win.

“We told the kids at halftime, ‘We just didn’t coach real well, we didn’t play really well, but we had 24 minutes to make it up,'” Denmark coach Mike Palmieri said. “Thank God we did.”

Dacula showed dominance in the first half, but it missed three extra point attempts — two kicks and a 2-point conversion — after scoring touchdowns, leaving points on the field.

The Falcons (1-4) had all of the momentum in the first quarter, getting two quick scores to put themselves up 12-0 with 3:50 left. A bad snap fumble by Denmark allowed Chuma Okoye to scoop the ball and walk into the end zone.

The Dacula defense stepped up in a major way, not allowing the Denmark offense to cross the 50-yard line in the first half. The Danes could not get the run game going with running back Amon Williams. Denmark endured multiple snap fumbles, putting them behind the sticks during drives.

Dacula kept rolling in the second quarter. Jayden Bethea ran in a 5-yard touchdown with 10:49 left in the half, increasing the lead to 18-0.

The Falcons looked to keep things going to start the third quarter with a huge run by Jerome Newland to get deep into Denmark territory. The Danes defense stood tough, stopping the Falcons from scoring on their opening drive.

Denmark found its groove in the passing and run game to turn the game around in the second half. Danes quarterback Kohl Yearwood capped off the first drive of the third with a wide open touchdown pass to Omar Hart, cutting the deficit to 18-7.

The Denmark defense put together another good stop in the third, but turnovers plagued the offense, giving Dacula the ball once again with less than a minute left to play in the frame. Bethea walked in a 2-yard TD that extended the lead to 25-7 with seconds left in the quarter.

However, the Danes kept fighting, getting a touchdown of their own on the next drive. A 30-yard touchdown from Yearwood to Ty Woodruff kept Denmark in the game.

Dacula moved down the field well on its next possession, but a fourth down stop by Denmark gave the visitors the ball back with 5:20 left in the game. Two big passes down the field by Yearwood set the Danes up on the Dacula 17-yard line. Woodruff’s 17-yard touchdown inched the team closer, bringing the score to 25-20 with 4:34 left to go.

A combination of penalties and sacks stalled Dacula’s next drive. After the special teams score, Denmark’s defense continued to show up in the fourth and the Falcons did not score again.