The Enterprise Wildcats (5-1) returned to their winning ways on homecoming with a resounding 64-29 win over the Fort Walton Beach (Fla.) Vikings (0-5) on Sept. 24.
The Wildcats dominated the game from the start and rolled up 538 yards rushing as the Wildcats put up more than 60 points in a game for the first time since 2013.
Enterprise scored on every drive against Fort Walton Beach except for both of its drives to end the first and the second half with the Wildcats running out the clock on both of those drives.
Enterprise’s Wyatt Darlington scored on a 6-yard run to open the game and Quentin Hayes followed up with a 28-yard touchdown run later in the first quarter. A two-point conversion from Amare Griffin gave the Wildcats a 15-0 lead going into the second quarter.
Enterprise added to the lead with a 13-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter before Fort Walton Beach got on the scoreboard as the Vikings’ TJ Seiuli scored on a 44-yard touchdown run to cut the Enterprise lead to 22-7 with 9:40 left in the half.
The Wildcats added two more touchdowns when Sam Whitaker scored on a 22-yard run and Hayes scored on a 5-yard run to extend the lead to 36-7. The Vikings scored again on a 3-yard run from Seiuli with just seven seconds left to cut the Wildcat lead to 36-14 at halftime.
Enterprise scored two more touchdowns to open the second half when Mykel Johnson exploded through the Viking defense on a career-long run of 75 yards and then Hayes scored on a 20-yard run to extend the Wildcat lead to 50-14.
Fort Walton Beach added another score on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Seiuli to receiver Nicklos McTear but Enterprise scored again to end the third quarter on a 4-yard run from Whitaker to take a 57-21 lead into the final period.
Enterprise’s Raymond McGoley added a 5-yard touchdown run and Fort Walton Beach’s Seiuli added an 11-yard touchdown run to bring the final score to 64-29 in Enterprise’s favor.
Enterprise’s offense was led by Johnson with a career-high 211 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries. Johnson averaged an eye-popping 19 yards per carry. Hayes added 99 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries, while he also completed 1-of-2 pass attempts for 47 yards. Whitaker also rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.
Johnson became the first Wildcat runner to surpass the 200-yard rushing mark under head coach Rick Darlington.
Defensively, Enterprise was led by linebacker Marzavious Reed with seven tackles and a pass breakup, while safety Keion Dunlap totaled five tackles, one tackle-for-loss and a pass breakup. Freshman safety Eric Winters recorded two tackles and his first career interception, while defensive tackle DJ Buckner amassed five tackles and a sack. Jordan Liddell also totaled four tackles and a sack. Cornerback Darrell Davis III recorded three tackles in his first career start.
Fort Walton Beach was able to find some success on offense totaling 298 yards but 141 of those yards came on three plays, while the other 52 offensive plays totaled just 157 yards.
The Enterprise offense did not turn the ball over for the fifth straight game and put up 590 yards of total offense but also had a number of negative plays and 11 penalties in the win, which didn’t sit well with Darlington as the Wildcats get ready to play Prattville in a crucial region game. The Wildcats were also playing without a number of starters – due to injury – on both offense and defense.
“We were just sloppy tonight, especially on defense,” Darlington said. “If we don’t get better at tackling and the basic fundamentals we’re not going to win a lot more games this year.
“It wasn’t easy (rushing for 500 yards). We did some good things but we also had some mistakes and it was just sloppy. We had so many injuries that we were limited some on offense, too. We really had some dumb mistakes that shouldn’t be happening at this point in the year.”
Enterprise hits the road for the first time next week for a big region game against the Prattville Lions.