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11th rank Denmark-Olar outlast 9th ranked Branchville 41-30

Denmark– In an early season match up of HSSR ranked class A teams the 11th ranked Demark-Olar Vikings held off the 9th ranked Branchville Yellow Jackets 41-30 Friday night at the new Denmark-Olar stadium.

The win moves the Vikings to 2-0 on the season while the Yellow Jackets fell to 2-1 with their first loss of the year.

“Branchville is a very good football team and they do a good job of mixing it up and using tempo but “I’m proud of the guys for finishing the deal and not allowing them to come back but we have a lot of things to clean up moving forward,” said Denmark-Olar head coach Greg Wright.

The first half was all Vikings as TJ Williams got the party started with a 41-yard kick-off return to set up the Viking offense at the Yellow Jackets 39 on their first possession. From there it took five plays for them to score as senior quarterback Malik Palmer went around the left end for an 18-yard touchdown run the extra point was blocked and the Vikings led 6-0.

The key play on the drive was a fourth down pass from Palmer to Diontra Wiggins for a 19-yard gain to the Yellow Jacket 18.

The second Viking score of the half came on a Palmer to Zavion Clark 29-yard scoring pass after Keithan Washington 25-yard punt return gave the Vikings a first down at the Yellow Jackets 29-yard line. Palmer then hit Wiggins for the two-point conversion and a 14-0 lead.

Branchville got some life when Zahiem Lane recovered a Denmark-Olar fumble at the Viking 45. Six plays later, on a first and goal from the Viking 8, the Vikings Bernard Young made the play of the half when he stripped the Yellow Jackets CJ Funchess of the football and recovered it to thwart the Yellow Jackets best drive of the first half.

“That fumble was big. We had gained some momentum and had a chance to cut into the lead. You have to take advantage of your opportunities against a team like Denmark”, said Branchville head coach Sandy Dukes.

“I knew I needed to make a play to help my team,” said Young after the game.

Taking over at the 8-yard line the Vikings would need just three-plays to increase their lead to 21-0 when Palmer brought the house to its feet with an electrifying 92-yard touchdown run. It was his second touchdown on the night and part of his 168 first half rushing yards.

The Viking defense was outstanding in the first half as they held the potent Yellow Jackets offense to just 71 total yards.

Branchville finally cracked the scoreboard in the third quarter when they went 50 yards in 8-plays with Lane covering the final four-yards. Quarterback Zach Wiles added the 2-point conversion and the Viking lead was cut to 21-8.

Lane would score his second touchdown of the third quarter after the Yellow Jackets recovered a high snap on the Viking 10. Wiles would again add the 2-point conversion and suddenly the Viking lead was down to five at 21-16.

The teams exchanged punts to start the fourth quarter, but it was the return by Denmark’s Washington that swung ‘Ole Mo back to the Vikings. After bobbling the ball then regaining possession, he ran backwards into the end zone. Coming out of the end zone he cut to the right broke four-tackles before Wiles made a touchdown saving tackle. The 55-yard return set the Viking offense up at the Yellow Jackets 37.

Two-plays later Palmer scored his third touchdown of the night on a 20-yard jaunt into the end zone and the 2-point conversion pushed the Vikings lead back up to 13 at 29-16.

Starting at their own 43-yard line the Yellow Jackets would need just three plays and 23 seconds to cut the lead to 7 at 29-22 when Wiles connected with Ronnie Lester (4-25 yds) from 9 yards. Wiles accounted for all 57 yards as he was 2-2 for 30-yards and had a 27-yard run.

The Vikings would answer with a 7-play drive covering 56 yards when Dareon James scampered 8-yards for the score. The extra-point was no good and the lead was back up to 13 at 35-22.

Branchville got the ball back with 3:24 to go in the game but on their second play of the drive Wiles dropped back to pass. He did not see Palmer as he fired a pass on the slant route. Palmer intercepted the pass and raced 57 yards to pay dirt pushing the Vikings lead to 41-22 with 2:38 remaining in the game.

Lane would score his third touchdown on the night from the three with :46.8 seconds left, and Wiles would add his third 2-point conversion for the final score of 41-30.

Besides his three scores on the night, Lane rushed for 43 yards while Wiles added 89 yards on the ground and 119 yards through the air on 10-21 for the Yellow Jackets.

Palmer finished the night with 272 yards and three touchdowns rushing and added 72-yards passing and another score. His fourth score was on the interception.

Clark had two receptions for 53 yards and a score to go with his 34-yard punt return and Washington had two catches for 21 yards to go with 80 yards in punt returns.

The Vikings will hit the road next week as they travel Silver Bluff and the Yellow Jackets will host Charleston Math and Science.

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