Another Friday night, another Denmark second-half comeback. This time it was against the West Forsyth Wolverines, with the Danes winning 21-10 in the Region 6-7A opener for both teams.
“We were down at the half, and we came out and made some plays," Denmark head coach Mike Palmieri said. "Our seniors really stepped up. We just have a good team, and we feel like if we’re all on the same page, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
Said running back Amon Williams, “We all stayed focused and locked in throughout the week, making sure we all do our job come Friday.”
Late in the second quarter of a scoreless game, West Forsyth got its best field position of the game when Denmark senior Che Ojarikre muffed a punt at the 15-yard line.
The Wolverines nearly struck first but couldn’t haul in the ball in the end zone. As a result, the Wolverines had to settle for a 28-yard field goal by Niko Nunez.
On third-and-4, Kohl Yearwood carried on a quarterback keeper. The senior avoided Forsyth County leading tackler Raleigh Herbert in the backfield, but the Wolverines forced him out of bounds.
With 20 seconds remaining in the half, Jack Tomlinson got the snap and received excellent blocking from his offensive line for a clean pocket. Tomlinson decided to throw a long ball downfield, but senior defensive back E.J. Adams came for the ball and made an interception to end the half.
Denmark has been in this position before going into halftime trailing.
To open the third quarter, Danes put in quarterback Jacob Nelson, who had been out since Week 1 due to a collarbone injury.
It was evident that Nelson had recovered from his injury, as he helped the Danes drive down the field. He capped off the two-minute drive with a 35-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Aidan Brozena, who sped past the defense on a vertical route going untouched.
After a 9-yard rush by Forsyth County leading rushing and touchdown leader Peyton Streko, 6-foot-3 linebacker Jacob Smith used his speed to get in the backfield and sack Tomlison for a 10-yard loss. Next play, Charley Cronier used a swim move to get past the offensive line and laid Tomlinson on his back for a 9-yard sack.
The Wolverines had no other options but to punt the ball on fourth-and-20.
Nelson began demonstrating his accuracy, as he put the ball in a tight window for senior wide receiver Lake Thoman. Then on the 43-yard line, he throws it where only Brendan Hester could catch it in double coverage for a gain of 19 yards.
On second-and-9, Williams ran the ball like he was on Madden — doing juke moves, spinning away from defenders, then stiff-arming the Wolverines for 13 yards.
The Danes were able to grow their lead to 14-3 when Nelson got a beautifully well-thrown ball to land in Brozena's hands for his second touchdown.
“We wanted to take it slow with Jacob, and Kohl did a great job for us for four games," Palmieri said. "We were seeing what they did defensively. They put so many guys in the box, and we thought we could hurt them on the pass in the second half. It worked out for us.”
On the kickoff return, the Wolverines tried to do a reverse with Ryder Stewart handing the ball off to Grey Brockman, who took the ball to the 21-yard line. A horse collar penalty moved the ball to the 36-yard line.
On the Wolverines' sixth play, Tomlinson put the ball on the money for wide receiver Brian Tawuo for a 26-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-10 with 1:59 left in the third quarter.
With 8:30 to go, the Danes wanted to wind down the clock with their rushing attack, with Williams and Clemson commit Dee Crayton exchanging handoffs.
The Wolverines could not get off the field, as the Danes drained the clock to 23.2 seconds. That’s when Williams punched it in for a 5-yard touchdown to secure the victory.
“It felt pretty good,” Williams said about his performance “Exciting that I got in the end zone and to have a great performance with the crowd.”
Denmark (5-1, 1-0) will resume action against South Forsyth Oct. 14 at home. Meanwhile, West (3-3, 0-1) will host the unbeaten Lambert Longhorns the same night.