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Football: Denmark's Mallard signs to play at Columbia University
Noah Mallard
Denmark senior Noah Mallard signed to play football at Columbia University following two years with the Danes and two years at South Forsyth. Photo submitted

Noah Mallard’s football career might have started later than most, but it’s not over just yet.

Mallard, an offensive lineman, signed to play football at Columbia University in New York City after two years at South Forsyth, then two years at Denmark.

“Noah was sold, because he wanted to go to a school where he wanted to be academically challenged but also play the game,” said Mallard’s mother, Lisa Mallard. “What a lot of people don’t know about Noah is, he did not actually start playing the game seriously until he was in the ninth grade when he went to South and Coach (Jeff) Arnette took him under his wing.”

He began playing football in middle school but decided to rededicate himself to the sport as a freshman under Arnette’s guidance.

“He’s an incredible young man,” Arnette said. “I’ll tell you what, he was a pleasure to coach. Just as team-oriented of a guy as you could want. He was about the team, his effort was outstanding, his work ethic was outstanding. I think those are the things I remember about him as a freshman and a sophomore.”

Mallard earned significant playing time his sophomore year with South Forsyth, where he was part of the 2017 War Eagles team that finished 9-2 and went 5-0 in Region 5-7A play.

Mallard was redistricted to Denmark as a junior and was named first team All-County in his first year with the Danes, grading out at 92 percent and collecting 41 pancake blocks.

As a senior, he paved the way for a high-flying Denmark offense that racked up nearly 4,000 total yards.

Mallard’s recruitment started picking up after his junior season, with assists from then-Denmark head coach Terry Crowder and then-offensive line coach Rob Williams

“Nobody taught Noah how to be recruited or how to talk to recruiters and stuff like that. That’s where Coach Crowder and Coach Williams came in and really helped him with that part of it,” she said.

While Mallard played for two head coaches in high school, both taught him lessons that were integral in molding him into the player and person he is today.

“I think that it was a good relationship in the sense that it wasn’t just about the game. It was also teaching Noah how to advocate for himself as a young man and how to speak up for what he knew he wanted, and also how to be respectful and how to treat others,” Lisa Mallard said. “Coach Arnette, we will always be forever grateful to him, because we don’t have family here – our family consists of the five of us.

“These coaches have played a very big role in Noah’s life. He didn’t have uncles around, but he considered them as extended uncles, because they were teaching him different roles of how to be a man and how to treat others and how to be respectful. Besides getting it from us at home, they’re also getting it at the school.”