The Enterprise Wildcats (3-0, 1-0) are without question a different team this season and they’ll have the opportunity to once again show that against the Class 7A No. 8-ranked Central-Phenix City Red Devils (2-2, 2-0) on the road.
The path to a Class 7A, Region 2 Championship still resides in Phenix City and both the Wildcats and Red Devils are coming off dominating wins last week. Enterprise thumped Davidson 52-13 on the road and Central shut Jeff Davis down 37-6.
After back-to-back losses to open the season against Hoover and Eufaula, the Red Devils have looked their old selves with region road wins over Smiths Station and Jeff Davis in the past two weeks.
“They look like the same old Central with crazy good players that have speed, size and talent,” Enterprise coach Rick Darlington flatly said. “It’s like watching an SEC team out there.
“Looking at them they’re awfully hard to slow down. They can run it, they can throw it long, they can throw it short, they can throw screens and their quarterback can run it. In every phase on offense they have it and defensively they have a bunch of fast, large dudes that run around seemingly angrily.”
In 2019, the Wildcats fell 42-13 and haven’t defeated Central since 2015. In fact, Enterprise has defeated Central just once since 2007. In the past four games with Central, the Wildcats have lost by a combined 188-44.
Enterprise defensive coordinator Jed Kennedy said that what makes Central so difficult to prepare for is that you can’t simply key on one player to try and neutralize.
“That’s really what puts you in a bind,” Kennedy said. “They get you in one-on-one matchups because you have to honor everyone. It’s just the reality of life against those guys.”
Enterprise has been effective and efficient on offense this season but has also struggled with dropped snaps and fumbles at times. Darlington said after the win over Davidson that cleaning up some of those mistakes will be key going into this big region matchup.
The Enterprise defense has also greatly improved this season – especially on third downs – which could end up being a key against the Red Devils, as well.
“Our offense is doing a great job, so we tell our kids that our offense can’t score if they don’t have the ball,” Kennedy said. “We weren’t very good on third downs last year and we put an emphasis on getting off the field on third down, and to do that you have to get them in third-and-long and not third-and-short situations.”
Enterprise will also have to deal with another lengthy road trip after traveling to Mobile last week. This will be Enterprise’s third consecutive road game of the season. The winner of this game, however, will likely be tied for first place in the region with Auburn.