Turnovers and a nearly unstoppable Central Phenix City (3-2, 3-0) running game led the Red Devils to a 45-28 Class 7A, Region 2 win over the Enterprise Wildcats (3-1, 1-1) in Phenix City on Sept. 18.
While the score ended up being lopsided the scoreboard doesn’t tell the whole tale.
In the first half, Enterprise had the ball inside Central’s 30-yard line five times – out of six total possessions – in the first half but could only muster 14 points out of those trips. The other three drives resulted in two interceptions and a turnover on downs.
Both teams put on an offensive showcase to open the game. Central marched right down the field to open things up and took a 7-0 lead when running back Joseph McKay scored on a 30-yard touchdown run with 9:45 left in the first quarter.
Enterprise answered, though, when athlete Josh McCray scored on a 2-yard touchdown run with 6:19 left to tie the score 7-7. The touchdown was set up by a 39-yard pass from Quinten Hayes to McCray.
Central answered when quarterback Caleb Nix – Auburn quarterback Bo Nix’s brother – connected with receiver Karmello English on a 21-yard touchdown pass with 4:32 left in the first quarter to put Central back ahead 14-7.
Enterprise went three-and-out on its next drive and the Red Devils took advantage of a short punt as quarterback Trey Miles scored on a 9-yard touchdown run with 1:42 left in the first quarter to extend the Central lead to 21-7. That score was preceded by a 21-yard scamper on fourth-and-seven by Miles.
Enterprise wasn’t done, however, as Hayes connected with McCray on a 64-yard touchdown pass with 39 seconds left in the first quarter to cut the lead to 21-14. That score would carry over into the second quarter.
Central opened the second quarter with a three-and-out and Enterprise responded by immediately driving down to the Central 30-yard line, but on fourth-and-eight Hayes threw his first interception of the season snuffing out an opportunity to tie the score.
Central made the Wildcats pay, too, as McKay scored on a 70-yard touchdown run with 7:15 left in the first half to extend the Red Devil lead to 28-14.
Enterprise running back Mykel Johnson exploded for a 40-yard run on the next drive and the Wildcats marched inside the Central 17-yard line, but a third down interception gave Central the ball back on their own 2-yard line.
Central managed to drive down to the Enterprise 33-yard line, but Wildcat linebacker LZ Leonard blasted Nix forcing a fumble, that was recovered by Kenyatta McNeese, giving Enterprise new life.
The Wildcats again marched to the Central 35-yard line but a fourth down pass went incomplete and Central was able to run out the clock on the half.
Enterprise opened the second half by driving into Central territory once again before a fumble gave the Red Devils the ball back, and once again they made the Wildcats pay. Miles took a quarterback draw right up the middle for a 67-yard touchdown with 8:19 left in the third quarter to extend the Red Devil lead to 35-14.
Enterprise answered as Hayes found McCray for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 4:00 left in the third quarter to cut the Central lead to 35-21.
Enterprise forced a Central punt on the next drive but were forced to punt to open the fourth quarter. Central returned a short punt 29 yards down to the Wildcat 11, but the Enterprise defense managed to hold the Red Devils out of the end-zone and forced a 21-yard field goal to extend Central’s lead to 38-21.
After Hayes was shaken up on a big hit, Enterprise marched down to the Central 19-yard line – mostly in the “single wing” offense – but turned the ball over on downs.
Central once again made the Wildcats pay as Zion Morris cashed in a 3-yard touchdown run with 3:15 left in the game to extend the lead to 45-21.
Enterprise managed one more score as McCray scored on a 1-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds left but an onside kick attempt failed and Central was able to hang on to the 45-28 win.
The Red Devils were led by a rushing attack that piled up 381 yards and 465 total yards, while the Wildcats compiled 448 yards of offense with the three turnovers looming large.
McCray led Enterprise with another big all-purpose night compiling 395 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. McCray rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, while also recording five catches for 139 yards and two more touchdowns. He also completed his lone pass attempt for 31 yards and returned seven kickoffs for 146 yards.
Johnson rushed for 136 yards on 12 carries and Cole Hooper hauled in two passes for 46 yards. Hayes completed 6-of-12 pass attempts for 154 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for eight yards. Sam Whitaker added 32 yards on five carries.
McKay led the Central rushing attack with 207 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries, while Miles rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. Nix completed 6-of-11 pass attempts for 78 yards and a touchdown. Jackson Meeks caught four passes for 50 yards.