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Football: Denmark takes shape in spring practice
Denmark head football coach Terry Crowder observes the Danes' spring practice on May 10, 2018 at Denmark High School. - photo by Brian Paglia

The members of the football team at Denmark High will soon have to shed their identities as students of South Forsyth or West Forsyth. At the end of each spring practice, the Danes’ coaching staff has helped them do that. They get in a circle, do jumping jacks while spelling out ‘Denmark,’ and then get in a circle and break it down.

“It gets louder and louder every day,” Danes head coach Terry Crowder said.

Denmark is still in its most incipient stages as a program, and in terms of experience, Crowder doesn’t expect the team to approach most other teams. The Danes’ oldest players in the fall will be juniors, and they can’t become seniors on a de facto basis.

“These kids are just sophomores in high school right now, and to expect them to act like a senior, it’s just not going to happen at this point,” Crowder said. “So it’s just going to be a process.”

But the presence of talent is not a question. Denmark is drawing its student body from two schools whose football programs both made the state playoffs last year and have extensive track records of success. South, where most of the future Danes are coming from, won the Region 5-7A title in 2017.

Some of the players expected to lead Denmark in the fall were regular contributors on that War Eagles team. Wide receiver Ze’Vian Capers has the length and leaping ability to place him among the elite receivers in the state, and linebackers Zach Burchfield and Nick Carozza played plenty of downs on South’s stout defense.

And a few changes Crowder is planning for could make those players even more productive. Crowder ran a spread offense at Creekview, his last job, and he said that Denmark will likely throw more than South did in 2017. Ben Whitlock, the team’s likely quarterback, is set to have a dangerous target in Capers, who holds an offer from Clemson, and Crowder said Burchfield and Carozza have been “matchup problems” at tight end.

“I don’t mind if we throw it every down or if we run it every down,” Crowder said. “We set up and do what the defense lets us. We’ve been pretty successful at doing that.”

One thing the Danes aren’t going to be is undercoached, as Crowder has three former offensive coordinators and three former defensive coordinators on his staff.

“(There’s) no place to hide,” he said. “You’re going to get coached no matter where you’re at.”