ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Denmark’s inaugural football game Friday night will not only go down in the history books as win, but a lopsided, shutout victory with the Danes kicking off their program’s historical record with a 43-0 win over Cherokee Bluff. The matchup featured two teams in their introductory seasons.
“It might be one of the most gratifying wins I’ve ever had,” said head coach Terry Crowder.
It’s an impressive statement given it was Crowder’s 92nd victory as a head coach, but he said the satisfaction stems from seeing the Danes find immediate success after building the program from scratch over the past nine months.
“There was so much work put in, from my family, the administration, the parents, the kids, everybody,” Crowder said. “To come out and play that well is really special.”
Crowder’s squad had a strong performance despite a mostly young and inexperienced roster, especially one playing not only in its first game of the season, but ever. The head coach said despite the greenness of his team, they did not show the typical shakiness of a season opening game or jitters associated with trying to make history.
“You never know what’s going to happen with a young football team,” he said. “But they really surprised me. The offense, defense and kicking game all played well. All the things you fear in a first game really didn’t happen.”
The Danes flexed their offensive muscle behind a standout performance from quarterback Ben Whitlock. The junior was 12-17 passing with 322 yards and five touchdowns.
“Whitlock played awesome,” Crowder said. “If he’ll play like that, we are going to win some football games.”
Whitlock connected with Nick Carozza four times for 151 yards and three touchdowns. Ze’Vian Capers had three receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Behind an offensive line featuring Noah Mallard, who Crowder called a “dominating presence” Friday night, Devin duCille rushed for 70 yards and earned the distinction of scoring Denmark’s first touchdown in program history.
While the Danes offense lit up the scoreboard, its defense held Cherokee Bluff to a goose egg.
“It’s very special in your inaugural game to get a shutout on the board,” Crowder said. “The defensive kids were very physical. I was also proud that we pulled the starters late in the third quarter and backups held the shutout.”
With win number one under their belt, Crowder said the goal moving forward is continue their focus on improving and putting in maximum effort.
“Every win we get from this point on is going to be a confidence builder,” he said. “But what I have to get this football team to understand is you have to practice hard every day. That’s our focus this week. Let’s go back and get ready for the next one.”