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Imhotep’s Tyseer Denmark explodes in leading PA to a 31-7 Big 33 victory over Maryland

Written by: on Sunday, May 26th, 2024. Follow Joseph Santoliquito on Twitter.



MECHANICSBURG, PA — Tyseer Denmark did what he was supposed to do and watched. The Penn State-bound Imhotep Charter star receiver did not like it. But what was he supposed to do? His last year had been cut short of the postseason by the PIAA eligibility transfer rules.

His last game his senior year came in early November. Though every day, he participated in practice, urging his teammates along, pushing them, demanding them to be better. With what scant slice of eligibility he had left, he did something remarkable—he gave that time up to his teammates. The Panthers’ younger receivers could use the reps, he thought, considering Imhotep was poised to make another state championship run.

So, last December, when Imhotep won the PIAA Class 5A state championship, Denmark watched from the sidelines and celebrated with his team at Cumberland Valley’s Chapman Field.

On Sunday, on the very same field, Denmark’s six-month wait to play exploded in a virtuoso with a game-high four receptions for 95 yards, and three TD receptions in Pennsylvania’s 31-7 drubbing of Maryland in the 67th Annual Big 33 game.

Denmark was named Pennsylvania MVP, capping a remarkable week, after being named MVP in the Philadelphia City All-Star game last Saturday. He followed that up with his eye-popping performance over Maryland in the prestigious Big 33.

“It feels great being on this stage, accomplishing this moment,” Denmark said. “I could not play football. I had been held back, though not necessarily held back, but kept in shackles. I could not showcase everything I had to do, and everything I could do. It was frustrating. But being around the Imhotep people, coach Dev (Johnson), they kept me up.”

Thanks to Denmark, Pennsylvania leads the all-time series 16-3. Maryland last beat Team PA in 2018.

“You have to understand what this kid went through,” said Imhotep coach Devon Johnson in reference to Denmark. “Knowing he could not play in the state playoffs, Tyseer gave up his place so the younger guys could practice reps and play in (Public League playoff) games to give them experience. That speaks loudly to his character. People do not know that.

“He was there for our state championship. He was absolutely a part of our state championship team. Tyseer never thought he got a fair shake in his appeals. He had a chip on his shoulder and that is showing tonight. He was not able to show what he could do on the big stages.

“He has tonight.”

Imhotep 6-foot, 185-pound corner Kenny Woseley, Jr., who is also going to Penn State, got a first-hand glimpse of what it was like facing Denmark every day.

“Tyseer is the best receiver in the state, no, in the nation, and I feel I am the best corner in the nation, in our eyes at Imhotep, and we made each other the best we could be,” Woseley said. “We came out of those battles every day feeling dominant. He knows no one is going to go at me like me, and I know no one is harder to cover than him. We are going to Penn State together and are going to be together again. I can’t wait.”

With Denmark leading the way, Pennsylvania took a 31-0 lead into intermission. Denmark was a one-man wrecking crew. Everything he did came over the first two quarters, with four catches for 95 yards, averaging 23.8 yards a catch, and three TD receptions.

In contrast, Maryland had gained 24 yards of total offense and two first downs by halftime, one coming on a pass interference call at the end of the half. Maryland was literally averaging 1 yard a play.

Pennsylvania had 244 yards of total offense, averaging 8.7 yards a play.

Pennsylvania got on the board on its second drive, when Manheim Township’s Hayden Johnson found Denmark in the corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown. On the previous play, it appeared as if Team PA undermined itself, when sitting at the Maryland six, a Pennsylvania player was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul call.

It did not matter.

Maryland had no answer for Denmark.

Team PA went up 14-0 when Steelton-Highspire’s Alex Erby found Denmark alone for a 52-yard TD strike with 3:11 to play. Maryland compounded its problems on the following possession when Bishop Canevin’s Jason Cross intercepted a Brenton Toles’ pass at the Team PA 43. A Johnson 32-yard pass to Manheim Central’s Aaron Enterline and Team PA was threatening to break the game wide open.

But a Maryland stop at its 11 forced a Team PA 27-yard field from Williamsport Area’s Connor Poole and a 17-0 PA lead.

With 10:31 to play in the first half, PA had outgained Maryland 165-16. Team PA had seven first downs to zero for Maryland.

St. Joe Prep’s Erik Sanchez added to the Team PA onslaught when he bulled his way into the end zone from a yard out, giving Pennsylvania a commanding 24-0 lead with 7:07 left in the half. The score was made possible when Navy-bound Erby found Roman Catholic’s Jah Jah Boyd for a 42-yard completion at the one.

Maryland did not achieve its initial first down of the game until North Point’s Kaleb Hart ripped through the Pennsylvania defense for a 10-yard gain with 6:17 left in the first half.

In the last four minutes of the half, Denmark almost broke loose for his third TD of the game when he took a punt back 26 yards to the Maryland 40. That eventually would come about a minute later, when Johnson found Denmark coming across the middle for a 24-yard TD score—and a 31-0 PA lead.

After halftime, Denmark arrived late to the field. He was busy signing autographs for young fans lined up against the fence.

“My best moment this weekend came even before this game,” Denmark said. “I cried out in the parking lot with my mom. It hit me. This was my last high school game.”

And a memorable one.

Scoring Summary

Maryland 0 0 7 0-7

Pennsylvania 14 17 0 0-31

1st Quarter

PA – Tyseer Denmark (Imhotep Charter) 21 pass from Hayden Johnson (Manheim Township) (Bryson Costa (Windber) kick), 6:06

PA – Denmark 52 pass from Alex Erby (Steelton-Highspire), (Connor Poole (Williamsport Area) kick), 3:11

2nd Quarter  

PA – Poole 27 FG, 10:31

PA – Erik Sanchez (St. Joseph’s Prep) 1 run (Costa kick), 7:07

PA – Denmark 24 pass from Johnson (Poole kick), 2:18

3rd Quarter

MD – Max Jones (Old Mill) 27 run, (Chris Pond (Archbishop Curley) kick), 5:57

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter @JSantoliquito

Follow on Twitter @EPAFootball

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