For the second year in a row the Enterprise Wildcats (3-0, 1-0) left no doubt on the field as they dominated rival Dothan Wolves (1-1, 0-1) by a score of 48-14 to earn their first region win of the season.
Enterprise set the tone early when running back Amare Griffin took a simple sweep on third-and-22 for a gain of 28 yards on the first drive of the game. Even after that conversion, the Dothan defense managed to get the Wildcats in a fourth-and-one from inside the Dothan 30-yard line four plays later.
The Wildcats drew the Wolves offsides for a first down and a few plays later receiver Aiden White took a reverse 21 yards for a touchdown to put Enterprise ahead 7-0 with 5:35 left in the first quarter.
Enterprise and Dothan exchanged punts to end the first quarter and then the Wildcats extended their lead after a 1-yard touchdown run from Griffin. The PAT gave Enterprise a 14-0 lead with 8:05 left in the first half.
Dothan managed to convert a fourth down on its next drive when quarterback Javierre Jackson scrambled for 18 yards and a few plays later receiver Raymon Blackmon scored on a 2-yard run out of the “Wildcat” formation. The PAT cut Enterprise’s lead to 14-7 with 4:55 left in the first half.
Enterprise struck again with 3:19 left in the half when Johnson took a “statue of liberty” play 55 yards for a touchdown to stretch the lead to 21-7 at halftime.
In the first half, Enterprise rolled up 187 yards of offense compared to Dothan’s 63 yards and most of that came from the “spread” formation, something the Wildcat offense hasn’t shown up until this point this season.
“On offense we did some things they hadn’t seen yet and scored on two reverses,” Enterprise coach Rick Darlington said. “I think their halftime adjustments were geared more to that “spread” look and didn’t expect us to come out in the ‘single wing’ in the second half.”
The “single wing” is the only formation Enterprise ran in the second half and the domination continued to mount as the Dothan defense became more and more tired.
Griffin scored on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter to extend Enterprise’s lead to 28-7 and Johnson followed that up with a 32-yard run to give the Wildcats a comfortable 35-7 lead with 6:30 left in the third quarter.
Dothan finally found the end-zone again when Blackmon scored on an 11-yard run with 1:23 left in the third quarter to cut the Wildcat lead to 35-14.
The fourth quarter again belonged to the Wildcats, however, as Johnson scored on a 37-yard run and Griffin scored on a 13-yard run in the period. The Wildcats failed on one of its two PATs in the fourth quarter to bring the final score to 48-14.
For the game, Enterprise totaled 429 yards on the ground and 442 total yards with Griffin rushing for 182 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries, while Johnson rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Quarterback Quentin Hayes – who saw his most extensive action of the season against Dothan – rushed for 32 yards on five carries along with completing 2-of-3 passes for 13 yards. Enterprise also had two long touchdowns – including a touchdown pass from Hayes to White – called back on penalties in the win.
As dominating as the Enterprise offense was, the Wildcat defense was equally as smothering. Dothan amassed a total of 157 yards with 156 of those yards coming on the ground, and almost all of those yards coming on quarterback scrambles. The Wolves completed just 4-of-9 passing attempts for a grand total of one yard through the air, as well.
Leading the Wildcat defense was linebacker Marzavious Reed with 10 tackles and one quarterback hurry, while linebacker Tysen Cole chipped in with eight tackles, two quarterback hurries and one tackle-for-loss. Linebacker JT Hooten also totaled eight tackles and one quarterback hurry and defensive tackle Xavier Moore amassed nine tackles, one tackle-for-loss, one forced fumble and two quarterback hurries.
“We played really well,” Darlington said. “We jumped on them pretty good and got up two scores at the half. We reminded (our team) of how it was last year at the half against Prattville and that we needed to finish.
“I think the defense just keeps getting better and special teams were better, too. It was a good win. It’s a rivalry and more importantly it’s a big region win. It’s hard to fight back if you lose this one. We’re proud of where we are but we need to keep getting better.”
After struggling on third and fourth downs – that Darlington refers to as “crucial downs” – on offense last week, Enterprise converted 8-of-11 third downs and 1-of-1 fourth downs against Dothan. The Wildcat defense was just as effective, stopping Dothan on 2-of-14 third downs and 2-of-4 fourth downs.
“That’s one of our things we always emphasize,” Darlington said of the crucial downs. “We want to convert on offense and get off the field on defense on crucial downs.
“That was something we emphasized in practice and talked a lot about. Football is a crucial downs game. You either get off the field or you keep things moving, for both sides, and it’s something we really emphasize.”