The Enterprise Wildcats (1-1) bounced back from their week one loss with a resounding 50-22 win over the Charles Henderson Trojans (0-1) at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Troy on Friday, Aug. 30.
The win snaps Enterprise’s 9-game losing streak – dating back to last season – and was the first win of new head coach Rick Darlington's Enterprise career.
The Wildcats dominated the first half in week one against North Miami Beach but fell apart in the second half, while against Charles Henderson, Enterprise dominated the entire game.
“Against North Miami Beach – in the second half when it started to turn on us – a wave became a Tsunami and it engulfed us,” Rick Darlington said. “We couldn’t get a first down, we couldn’t stop them and it just wiped us out.
“We had issues in the spring game, too. We finally grew up a lot with handling adversity and momentum swings (against Charles Henderson).”
After neither team was able to score in the first quarter, the Wildcats got on the scoreboard first with a 10-yard touchdown run from freshman running back Mykel Johnson with 11:12 left in the second quarter. The two-point conversion gave Enterprise an 8-0 lead.
Charles Henderson managed to respond on its next possession, however, with a 3-yard touchdown run from quarterback Yahoshua Jones with 7:57 remaining in the first half. The Trojan PAT failed and Enterprise remained ahead 8-6.
Enterprise struck back when quarterback Jackson Darlington found a streaking Terrell Hudson down the middle of the field for a 34-yard touchdown pass with 5:49 left in the half. The PAT gave Enterprise a 15-6 lead.
The Wildcats then got the ball right back when running back/safety Josh McCray made a leaping interception on the Trojans’ ensuing drive, after Charles Henderson drove inside Enterprise territory. Enterprise then surprised the Charles Henderson defense when it came out onto the field lined up the “spread” offense.
“We call it the ‘gun’ instead,” Rick Darlington said with a smile of the “spread” offense. “We have some (good) receivers and sometimes it’s nice to be able to spread a defense out a little bit. We wanted to be able to throw the ball a little bit better and some other things like screens and trick plays.
“Those things work better with a ‘spread’ package than the ‘single wing.’ I’ve done it some in the past – some years we do it and some we don’t – and this year I felt like we could do it.”
Enterprise’s offense spent the rest of the game bouncing back-and-forth between the “spread” and the “single wing” keeping the Trojan defense off balance.
The Wildcats also pulled out a play from the North Miami Beach playbook when McCray turned a double pass into a 53-yard completion to Johnson. North Miami Beach connected on two double passes last week against Enterprise.
McCray then scored on a reverse but the touchdown was called back on a holding penalty. McCray then capped off the drive with his best Randy Moss impersonation, making a leaping 17-yard touchdown grab from Jackson Darlington over a Charles Henderson defender. The PAT gave Enterprise a 22-6 lead with 3:25 left in the opening half. The Wildcats would take that lead into halftime.
“At the end of the first half we score that touchdown on a reverse but they call a penalty on us there,” Rick Darlington said. “Instead of hanging our heads, we get back up and throw the touchdown pass. That was great to see.”
Charles Henderson opened the second half with its best drive of the night – a 4-play, 77-yard drive – capped off by a 16-yard touchdown run by running back Jonathan Carter with 11:07 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion cut Enterprise’s lead to 22-14. This could have potentially been another momentum shift.
“Second half, they come out and just like that the score is 22-14 and we’re in the same exact situation as last week,” Rick Darlington said. “Instead of letting it overwhelm us, the next thing you know (the score is) 43-14.”
Enterprise answered, however, when McCray cashed in a 4-yard touchdown run with 6:26 left in the third quarter. The PAT gave the Wildcats a 29-14 lead.
After giving up three touchdowns in the fourth quarter last week, the Wildcats completely dominated the final period against the Trojans scoring three touchdowns of their own.
After a Jaylon Webster interception, Jackson Darlington scored his first rushing touchdown of the night on a 4-yard run with 7:32 left in the fourth quarter. The PAT extended the Wildcat lead to 36-14. Sophomore cornerback Mar’Shawn Fitzpatrick covered up a Charles Henderson fumble on the ensuing kickoff, and Darlington scored his second rushing touchdown on an 8-yard scamper with 6:29 remaining in the game. The PAT extended Enterprise’s lead to 43-14.
Charles Henderson managed to get back on the scoreboard with 4:37 remaining when Jones found Javen Hill for an 11-yard touchdown pass. The two-point conversion cut the Enterprise lead to 43-22, but that was as close as the Trojans would get.
After Enterprise covered up an onside kick attempt, a number of young Wildcats got their chance to shine. Sophomore quarterback Cam Cowart capped off the drive with a 1-yard scoring plunge with 56 seconds remaining. The PAT gave Enterprise the 50-22 lead, which it would maintain for the remainder of the game.
The win over Charles Henderson was the first time Enterprise has scored 50 points or more since the 2016 season. The Wildcat offense also piled up 587 yards of total offense with 379 yards on the ground.
Johnson led the Wildcats with 150 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. He also had two catches for 62 yards. It was Johnson’s second consecutive game of 150 yards or more rushing.
McCray totaled 261 all-purpose yards with 142 yards and a touchdown on the ground, 53 passing yards, and 66 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
Jackson Darlington completed 9-of-14 pass attempts for 155 yards and two touchdowns along with 57 yards and two more touchdowns on 14 rushing attempts. Hudson caught two passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Junior receiver Jared Smith also caught one pass for 12 yards in his first action since tearing his ACL against R.E. Lee in 2018.
The Wildcat defense also had a big night holding the Trojans to 267 total yards and for the second consecutive week held the opposing offense for under 100 yards rushing. Charles Henderson netted 222 yards on its three scoring drives and just 45 yards on the other eight drives.
The Wildcat defense also forced three turnovers. Jackson Darlington led the defense with 5.5 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two quarterback hurries and two pass breakups. DJ Turner had a big day with four tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and three quarterback hurries. McCray added 3.5 tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.
Jones led the Trojan offense with 53 yards on five carries. He also completed 13-of-28 pass attempts for 193 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Hill caught four passes for 53 yards and both touchdowns.