The Enterprise Wildcats (5-5) are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016 and are heading to familiar territory against Class 7A’s No. 1-ranked McGill-Toolen Yellow Jackets (10-0) in Mobile on Friday, Nov. 8.
The last time Enterprise played in a playoff game it was Nov. 11, 2016 against these same Yellow Jackets on the road. That game saw McGill-Toolen win a thrilling 27-23 back-and-forth slugfest before losing to Auburn in the Class 7A State Championship.
In fact, Enterprise also met McGill-Toolen back in 2015, in a game that the Yellow Jackets dominated 30-13. The only other playoff opponent Enterprise has seen since moving up to 7A in 2015 is Baker in the opening round back in 2016.
McGill-Toolen has continued to be a powerhouse in Class 7A over the past two years as Enterprise failed to return to the playoffs, until now. The Wildcats are coming off three consecutive wins to close out the 2019 season, while McGill-Toolen remains undefeated after a 27-20 overtime scare against Fairhope last week.
Enterprise and McGill-Toolen’s only common opponent this season is Theodore. The Yellow Jackets defeated Theodore 17-6 in a defensive battle back on Oct. 11, while Enterprise made a miraculous comeback to win 28-27 last week in Theodore.
The long road trip likely won’t affect the Wildcats after taking an almost identical trip last week to Theodore and Enterprise coach Rick Darlington believes that the Theodore win will do a lot for his team’s confidence.
“I think it was huge because it not only shows that we beat them but it was the way we beat them,” he said. “The fact that we came back on a really good, physical team was big. It can only help with our confidence.”
McGill-Toolen boasts some of the top athletes in the state, including brothers Jordan and Jaden Mosley. Jordan Mosley – a four-star receiver – is committed to Tennessee, while Jaden Mosley – a three-star athlete that plays both receiver and defensive back – boasts scholarship offers from schools like Tennessee, Indiana and South Alabama.
The Yellow Jacket offense is averaging 34 points per game and has only scored less than 35 points in four games, while the McGill-Toolen defense is giving up an average of just 8.4 points per game.
“McGill (Toolen) is really well-coached and talented and they’re the No. 1 team in the state,” Darlington said. “They’re horrifically hard to prepare for on offense but their defense is going to line up and do what they do.
“They don’t give too many looks (on defense) but they’re very sound and very well-coached. They’re a tough opponent physically but also a tough opponent as far as preparation goes.”
Darlington and defensive coordinator Jed Kennedy pointed to McGill-Toolen’s multiple formations and constant shifting as an even bigger task to deal with than the Yellow Jackets’ talented athletes.
The Wildcats come in with a renewed sense of confidence, however, and Darlignton said a key for them will be not to allow McGill-Toolen to jump out to a big lead, unlike the past three weeks.
“We can’t get behind early,” Darlington emphasized. “We have to come out and play the first quarter like we’ve played the rest of the game.
“We don’t put up a ton of points but the thing we did well last week was we didn’t squander opportunities – like turnovers – when they were presented. We have to continue to do that. We have to make good on the opportunities we have.”
For those attending the game, McGill-Toolen’s Lipscomb Athletic Complex is located at 3610 Michael Boulevard in Mobile.
Parking gates will open at 4 p.m. and the cost to park is $5 per vehicle. The most convenient entrance is the gate nearest to Montlimar Drive.
Stadium gates open at 5:30 p.m. and Lipscomb Athletic Complex has a No Re-Enter Policy, as well as a Clear Bag Policy. Only clear bags no larger than 12”x6”x12” are allowed. The stadium also had a No Umbrella Policy.