Defense

Enterprise defenders Jordan Liddell (94) and Tysen Cole (7) drag down a Smiths Station runner.

After back-to-back road games, the Enterprise Wildcats (6-2, 2-2) return home this week for a pivotal Class 7A, Region 2 game against the Jeff Davis Volunteers (1-6, 1-3) on Oct. 15.

A win this week secures a spot in the 2021 Class 7A Playoffs but Enterprise also needs to win the next two games for a shot at forcing a tiebreaker and possible spot in the No. 2 or No. 3 seed.

Jeff Davis is also coming to Enterprise not just looking to play the role of spoiler but also with playoff goals of their own. If Jeff Davis upsets Enterprise and Prattville in the final two weeks of the season they would likely earn a spot in the playoffs.

Last week Enterprise managed to take care of business on the road against Smiths Station to pick up a 49-35 win but struggled – especially on defense – at times. The Vols lost to Dothan 20-18 last week but earned their first win of the season against Smith Station 22-13 the previous week.

While Jeff Davis opened the season giving up 40 points per game in the first half of the season, the Vol defense has rebounded to give up an average of 18 points the last three weeks.

Meanwhile, Enterprise is averaging 43 points on offense and a total of 432 yards of offense heading into this week. The Wildcat defense is giving up 21 points per game and 262 yards of offense on average.

The Enterprise offense has been one of the most efficient offenses in the state this season and had not given up a turnover since week one until coughing up a fumble against Smiths Station last week. That second quarter turnover snapped a 26-quarter streak of no turnovers.

The Enterprise coaches stress “crucial downs” to their team each week and so far this season, the Enterprise offense is 41 percent on third down conversions and 59 percent on fourth downs, while the Wildcat defense is allowing opposing offenses to convert just 25 percent of third down attempts and 53 percent of fourth down attempts. Crucial downs and turnovers will be two aspects of the game that Enterprise will be looking to continue to dominate in as each game becomes more and more important.

As the Enterprise offense is nearing 3,000 yards rushing this season, two Wildcat runners are also nearing the 1,000-yard milestone that no Enterprise player has reached in almost a decade. Junior Mykel Johnson currently has 810 yards and 15 touchdowns on the ground, while sophomore Amare Griffin has earned 813 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Johnson has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in total yardage as he’s also amassed 251 yards on 14 catches to bring his total offense mark to 1,061 yards. Johnson has also been a touchdown machine this season with 21 total touchdowns, including six receiving touchdowns that ties the school’s single-season record that Josh McCray also tied in 2020. McCray and Johnson are tied with 1960 receiver David O’Gwynn for that record.

The Enterprise defense has been much improved this season despite a rash of injuries and player departures that have hampered the Wildcat defense, especially in the secondary. Johnson and receiver Aiden White have been forced into roles on defense because of those issues.

Still, sophomore linebackers Mazarious Reed and JT Hooten have been spectacular for the Wildcats this year. Reed has totaled 69 tackles, 12.6 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, two fumble recoveries and 10 quarterback hurries, while Hooten has earned 52 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss, three sacks and four quarterback hurries. Defensive lineman DJ Buckner has also been solid this season with 30 tackles, 8.5 tackles-for-loss, 2.5 sack

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