Denmark head coach Brett Godwin challenged his team in the locker room before Wednesday's game to score the first goal of the game and as many goals as they could in the first half.
Imagine if the team had taken his advice literally. Well, no need to imagine.
Denmark scored four of its five goals in the first half against South Forsyth to win 5-1 and lock up the No. 2 seed out of Region 6-7A.
“We’ve started games a little slow earlier in the year, like we have to be scored on to wake up a little bit," Godwin said. "So we’ve put a big emphasis in the last few weeks on coming out strong, getting the first goal and then seeing if we can get the second after that.”
After signing his Letter of Intent on Tuesday to play at Coastal Carolina, Dolapo Morakinyo scored the first two goals of the game before the first 20 minutes had passed.
With his back to the goal, he chipped the ball over his head to the other side of the goal just 90 seconds into the game. He added a second after a beautiful cross from Benji Ashtar.
“Coach drilled into us that in the first 25 minutes, we score goals,” Morakinyo said. “And we tried our best to do that tonight.”
Ashtar scored the third goal for the Danes by using his speed to blow past the South defenders, getting an open look at the goal. He curved the ball past the goalie’s hands in the bottom right part of the goal.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a kid that fast,” Godwin said, referencing Ashtar. “And the way he hits top speed so quickly is really incredible.”
Samuel Del Cid added two more goals, with one being a beautiful downfield header over the goalie’s head.
“I didn’t think I was gonna do too much off the bench, but these guys set the standard that we were scoring tonight,” Del Cid said.
The five goals in Wednesday night’s loss were the most goals South has allowed up this point in the season. The War Eagles have only scored one goal in two other games this season.
South head coach Chere Thomas served a red card penalty in Wednesday’s game and was not in attendance.
“It wasn’t an effort problem at all,” South assistant coach Luke Wagner said. “To me, it was discipline. Guys getting out of formation, maybe trying to do too much.”
Christian Carlton scored a header off of a corner kick in the second half for South’s lone goal of the game. South took plenty of shots on goal, but Denmark goalie David Gad saved seven shots in the game.
South finishes the season as the No. 4 seed out of Region 6-7A. Wagner said the team has to work on their communication with one another before the start of the state tournament.
Denmark will now host the first round of its state playoff game with an opportunity to host more games throughout the tournament.
“It’s so important, especially since it’s our first playoff game,” Ashtar said. “It’s good for us to have the atmosphere we’re familiar with.”
No opponent or game time has been set for neither Denmark nor South Forsyth. Godwin said though they are looking forward to the playoff game, he cannot diminish what his team accomplished Wednesday night.
“It’s a huge accomplishment for the work they’ve done,” Godwin said. “To be able to host a playoff game in their first season in 7A ... give all the credit to the team.”