The North Miami Beach Chargers came up to Enterprise to face off with EHS in a football game Friday night, but they also got a chance to experience some of the culture of the City of Progress and Fort Rucker.
After an exhausting eight-hour bus trip from North Miami Beach High to Enterprise, the Charger team was ready to stretch their legs.
“It was a long one,” North Miami Beach coach Jeff Bertani said. “We got a chance to stop off at the University of Florida (last night) and eat dinner and let the kids walk around campus a little bit. The experience was good, though.”
The game between Enterprise and North Miami Beach was not only the first time that the two schools have ever met, but also the first time that North Miami Beach has ever played in the State of Alabama. Bertani said that a long trip like this was something he enjoys doing with his team.
“The bonding you get to do on something like this is just great,” Bertani said. “I love being able to do this for the first game – if were doing it in the middle of the season it might not have gone as smooth – and it’s just great for our guys.”
The Chargers visited the Boll Weevil Monument in downtown Enterprise to learn a little bit about the history of the city before traveling to Fort Rucker to take a tour of the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.
“It’s been unbelievable,” Bertani said of the tour. “You can tell with kids that if they’re quiet then they’re interested, and I can just tell with my players – watching their eyes – that they’re just lighting up.
“The thing I really love is that you have a gentleman (giving the tour) that has been there and done that. The age difference is enormous but they’re still just sitting there and soaking it all in. You can’t beat that, man. It’s a great experience for our kids.”
Bertani said that from his short stay in Enterprise he could see why the city was appealing to new Enterprise coach Rick Darlington.
“I’ve just been so impressed with everything about Enterprise,” Bertani said. “From the moment we got here people were greeting us. I can definitely see why Coach Darlington left Florida and came here, for sure.”
Bertani said that the atmosphere in a city like Enterprise and the love for football is something his players don’t get a chance to experience as much of in South Florida.
“In Miami you don’t get this true high school feeling, that ‘Friday Night Lights’ type of atmosphere,” he emphasized. “They’re getting the opportunity to experience that right now and it’s incredible.”
After all the sightseeing and history lessons, it was time to strap up and hit the football field. Betani, who has known Darlington for more than 10 years, said that he thinks Darlington will get the EHS program rolling sooner rather than later.
“I think the thing that people in Enterprise are really going to see with his team is a team that smashes you up,” Bertani said. “His teams are going to be disciplined and have that blue collar type of physicality.”