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Football: Six contenders for Offensive Player of the Year
Denmark's Ze'Vian Capers celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the Danes' game against Cherokee Bluff on Aug. 24, 2018 at Denmark High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

It’s no secret where much of Forsyth County’s offensive firepower will reside this upcoming football season.

The county’s newest school, Denmark, looks to be a real threat in Class 4A after returning the vast majority of its starters and adding new and flashy names to supplement an offense that was already productive during its inaugural year.

But it’s not just the Danes that have some interesting weapons: One of the county’s best receivers is returning for his senior year at North Forsyth, and South Forsyth is looking for another playoff season behind its strengths at receiver and on the offensive line.

Here are some offensive players that will be looking to make an impact during the upcoming season and contend for All-County Offensive Player of the Year.

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Denmark's Ze'Vian Capers tracks a throw during the Danes' game against Flowery Branch on Nov. 2, 2018 at Flowery Branch High School. Photo by Austin Steele/The Gainesville Times.

Ze’Vian Capers, Denmark, Sr.

During his first season at Denmark last year, Capers became the Danes’ unquestioned favorite target, and for good reason. Capers can line up outside or in the slot, and with his 6-foot-4, 215 pound frame, he can win the one-on-one matchups down the field. He led the county in receiving with 1,182 yards on 60 catches with 11 touchdowns last season, earning All-County Offensive Player of the Year honors.

He’ll no doubt be a popular target for Denmark again this year, and as part of a much-improved offensive attack, he has the chance to put up even better numbers during his senior year. Capers will be playing big-time college football after his high school career is over, as he committed to Auburn last week after reopening his recruitment in early June.

North Forsyth wide receiver Nicky Dalmolin (right) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Johns Creek on Aug. 25. - photo by Brian Paglia

Nicky Dalmolin, North Forsyth, Sr.

Dalmolin looks to be the most important part of North’s offensive attack in the upcoming season. The senior wide receiver is the lone returner to his side of the ball from last year, with running back Bryson Trigg, offensive lineman Jeremy James and quarterback Carter Mullikin each graduating. Dalmolin led the Raiders with 514 yards on 47 catches last year. Head coach Robert Craft has voiced his desire to have his team become more balanced offensively after what was at times a run-heavy 2018, and Dalmolin will be an instrumental part of that goal being realized.

Aaron McLaughlin started as a freshman and sophomore at Buford, the Class 5A power whose 10 year-plus string of state semifinal appearances was snapped this past fall. - photo by FCN regional staff

Aaron McLaughlin, Denmark, Jr.

McLaughlin could be a next-level addition for the Danes at quarterback, a position that Denmark was relatively strong at with Ben Whitlock last year. McLaughlin transferred in from Buford, one of the state’s most prestigious programs, having started during his freshman and sophomore years with the Wolves, leading them to a 21-5 overall record over those two seasons.

McLaughlin looks to be a natural fit for Denmark’s spread offense, with a powerful throwing arm and a prototypical frame for a pocket passer, standing at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds. Top collegiate programs have certainly taken notice of him: He has offers from Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Michigan, USC and Ole Miss, among many others. With the amount of weapons the Danes will have around him, there’s no reason to think that his career can’t continue to flourish with them.

West Forsyth Blake Whitfield rushes for a touchdown during the Wolverines' game at Camden County on Aug. 17, 2018 at Camden County High School. Photo courtesy Tribune & Georgian.

Blake Whitfield, West Forsyth, Sr.

Whitfield sat on the sidelines for most of last season due to a broken collarbone, but when he was playing, he was effective, finishing his season with 385 yards passing with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Now that he’s healthy again, he’ll look to make an impact on a Wolverines team that’s lost a lot of offensive playmakers from their 2018 playoff season. While West has mostly been a run-first team for most of head coach Shawn Cahill’s tenure, the Wolverines weren’t afraid to throw the ball towards the end of last year as sophomore Drew Southern gained confidence in his role. With Whitfield being one of West’s best players on offense, the Wolverines will likely look to take advantage of his skillset and experience.

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Forsyth Central's Tristen Rose reaches out to tackle South Forsyth's Jordan Brunson during the Bulldogs' game against South Forsyth on OCt. 26, 2018 at Forsyth Central High School.

Jordan Brunson, Denmark, Sr.

Along with McLaughlin, Brunson, a Virginia Tech commit, was another college prospect that transferred to Denmark in the offseason. Unlike McLaughlin, Brunson is no stranger to the county, having spent his last three seasons at South Forsyth. He was the War Eagles’ primary rusher in 2018, racking up 935 yards on 198 carries with 15 touchdowns.

At 5-foot-11, 215 pounds, Brunson was a go-to option for South in the red zone last year. He averaged 85 yards per game and had four performances of 100 yards or more last year, though, so he’ll see plenty of action as Denmark’s lead back in the middle of an offense that looks loaded for a deep playoff run in Class 4A.

South Forsyth's Colby Cruz (center) tumbles to the ground during a drill at a spring football practice on May 8, 2019 at South Forsyth High School. - photo by David Almeda

Colby Cruz, South Forsyth, Sr.

The War Eagles may have lost some key pieces like Brunson in the offseason, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have any returning talent that can make a difference. South is deep at wide receiver, and a key piece of that puzzle for South this year will be Cruz. He only started seven games during the 2018 season due to a season-ending injury, but he made the most of his chances: He totaled 304 yards on just nine catches during his junior season, averaging 33.8 yards per catch. Coming off his injury, Cruz has a good chance of becoming the War Eagles’ No. 1 pass catcher.

Others to watch: Cameron Schurr, South Forsyth, Sr.; Daba Fofana, West Forsyth, Jr.; Zach Ogbogu, Denmark, Jr.