Sam Whitaker

Sam Whitaker (2) hauls in a pass for the Wildcats against Bay.

The No. 7-ranked Enterprise Wildcats (1-0) will open 7A Area 2 play on Friday, Aug. 26, at home in a Top 10 matchup against the No. 2 ranked Auburn Tigers (1-0). The Cats fell to the Tigers twice in 2021 on the road, a 42-28 loss in the regular season then three weeks later, a 56-21 loss in the quarterfinals of the state tournament.

The last time the two teams met in Wildcat Stadium, Enterprise upset the No. 3-ranked Tigers 38-27 in 2020 on a rain-drenched field, and the Cats are hoping for déjà vu with rain in the forecast for tomorrow.

Enterprise opened the season at home with a resounding defeat of Bay (Fla.) 41-7 while Auburn kicked a field goal with 2:31 left in its opening game and slipped by Hoover 17-14 in the AHSAA Kickoff Classic at Cramton Bowl. Auburn is looking to begin its quest for the region crown with a win on the road at Enterprise after surrendering the title in 2021 to Central-Phenix City, while the Cats would like to be in the hunt for a championship of its own by opening region play with a victory.

The battle in the trenches will be integral to success for either team as well as the ability to cause turnovers and stop big plays, especially if the playing conditions are less than ideal.

“We have to play fast and physical at the line of scrimmage,” said Enterprise Head Coach Ben Blackmon. “We have to eliminate negative plays offensively and don’t give up explosive plays defensively.”

Auburn’s offense was led in the Kickoff Classic by senior running back Davaioun Williams, who scored both the Tigers touchdowns against Hoover. Senior quarterback Clyde Pittman will be the signal caller for the second year against the Wildcats. He went 11-for-11 for 181 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 64 yards on three carries against Enterprise in the 2021 regular season contest.

Seniors Aiden White and Mykel Johnson will once again lead the Enterprise offense after they scored two touchdowns each against Bay last week. The Wildcat defense will have to step up once again as they did in the Bay game where they recovered two fumbles, had 5.5 sacks and five pass deflections.

Special teams could also be a factor in the game for both teams. Johnson returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown against Bay for the Wildcats and Auburn won its opener in the waning minutes of the game with a field goal. The Tigers also had a punt blocked against Hoover which led to the Bucs first score.

“They are well coached so we have to be really good on special teams,” Blackmon said.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. in Wildcat Stadium. Tickets will NOT be available at the gate. All tickets must be purchased at EHS from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. on Friday or on the GoFan app at https://bit.ly/3R9g6VV

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