Enterprise football coach Rick Darlington was selected as The Southeast Sun/Daleville Sun-Courier 2019 Coach of the Year this season after guiding the Wildcats to a return to the playoffs.
After the Wildcats won just four games combined in 2017 and 2018, Enterprise went 5-5 in the regular season and won three straight to earn a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“The thing I will remember most is how we turned things around,” Darlington said. “We started out 2-2 and then had some injuries and lost three in a row against really good teams, but after that open week it really flipped and the kids started believing.”
After losing by a combined score of 117-36 to Dothan, Prattville and Central-Phenix City, Enterprise picked up wins over Jeff Davis and R.E. Lee to secure a spot in the playoffs and then came from more than 20 points down late in the second half against Theodore to win that game, as well.
“Their will to come back against Lee and Jeff Davis and that Theodore win will always stand out to me,” Darlington said. “The way we battled against McGill-Toolen (in the playoffs), too and had a chance to win. The way they turned things around is what I’m really proud of.”
Darlington said that he believes he’ll be able to look back on the 2019 team in the future as the team that laid the foundation for greatness at Enterprise.
“We built a great foundation this year,” he emphasized. “We’re going to do great things here and that first team helped build that foundation.”