Last year’s loss to Dothan High stuck with Enterprise head coach Rick Darlington.
In Friday night’s 42-13 win over the Wolves in Dothan, his Wildcats indicated they hadn’t forgotten much of that game, either.
Enterprise dominated early and late in avenging what Darlington had called the “low point” of last season. The win didn’t change history, but it made it seem farther away.
The Wildcats improved to 2-0 and Dothan fell to 0-1 in the region opener for both teams.
“First, it was a good rivalry win. After last year the way they crushed us, it was definitely good to swing that and get a win for confidence,” Darlington said Monday. “But most importantly it was a region win. To make the playoffs, those are the games you’ve got to win.”
Quarterback Quentin Hayes gave the Cats a 14-0 lead in the first quarter with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Mykel Johnson and a 44-yard strike to Jared Smith.
Dothan got back in the game when it recovered a fumble deep in Enterprise territory and turned it into a touchdown.
“We gave them the one touchdown. That’s on me. I called a stupid play, obviously. That wasn’t the place to call that play. I felt bad,” the head coach said.
His players picked him up, however.
“That could have really swung the momentum to them. Our kids handled that well,” he said. “Momentum’s a big deal in high school ball, of course.”
Dothan found more in the third quarter when Jaylin White went 80 yards for a touchdown on a slant pass from Bauer Sharp.
The Wildcats answered with a big kickoff return from Josh McCray, a long option run by Johnson and, eventually, McCray’s 3-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the third quarter. McCray and Johnson both finished with more than 70 yards rushing each.
“That was big. You’ve got to answer things like that,” Darlington said, referring to the Wolves’ long TD play. “That was a good drive. It was just a good overall win.”
After that, a 52-yard interception return for a touchdown by Jaylon Webster broke the game completely open. Hayes threw three TD passes and was 8-for-8 for 133 yards. He also finished the scoring with a 17-yard rushing touchdown midway through the fourth quarter and ended up with 89 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Darlington credited defensive coordinator Jed Kennedy’s game plan, which produced pressure on Sharp throughout and limited the explosive White out of the backfield to 40 yards rushing. Sharp was 7-for-19 passing for 168 yards and the interception. The Dothan quarterback was sacked five times but pressure much more often.
“Jed did a great job with his plan. We were able to pressure. We managed to keep the running back somewhat in check,” the head coach said. “You’ve got to stop the run and not give up to the big pass. We only did that once. That was good.”
He also said kickoffs by Matthew Sheahan that found the end zone for touchbacks were big for the Wildcats.
The offensive line continues to get the job done.
“They’re still not perfect but they’re playing hard. I think they’re getting better,” the coach said. “They’re playing low. That’s what we’ve got to do. We’re not very big. We’ve got to play with great effort and great technique.”
Enterprise next plays Friday night at Davidson in Mobile at Baker High School.
Davidson tickets: Enterprise at Davidson football tickets are now available. Please use the following link and remember the game will be played at Baker High School this Friday, Sept. 11. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Tickets are available until they sell out.
Follow Ken Rogers on Twitter @debamabeat.
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