The 2021 Enterprise High School Wildcats (5-2,1-2) were this close to beating Prattville (5-2, 3-1) on the road last week but lost a heartbreaker 17-16 because, in no small measure, the Cats didn’t always get out of their own way, especially deep in Prattville’s territory in the second half.
Unexplained incidents pepper sports and the Prattville game was no exception.
No, this doesn’t concern 10-yard missed spots by game officials, who did correct those mistakes on a night 275 penalty yards were assessed on 26 violations.
Mysteriously, at least three Enterprise players’ helmets flew off their heads against the Lions.
Enterprise’s playoff hopes are truly alive and kicking with three 7A Region 2 games ahead, starting tonight in Panther Stadium against Smiths Station (1-5, 0-3), a team mired in its third consecutive losing season.
Speaking of season records, the Cats can still improve on last year’s 7-4.
Next week, the Cats return home for their annual tussle with Jeff Davis (1-5, 1-2); the Vols are in Dothan tonight – Enterprise will travel to Auburn (6-1, 3-1) on October 22 to end the regular season for EHS.
Playoffs begin November 5.
All that’s ahead.
Tonight, the Cats are all about getting up off the deck by improving on their 15-7 record against the Panthers since the series began in 2000.
Wait a minute.
The numbers don’t add up, so the teams must’ve played more than once in one season.
A two-fer happened in 2013 with Smiths winning, 34-28, in double overtime August 30 at home, and 41-34 in the second playoff round contested in Wildcat Stadium.
The Cats are 6-1 against the Panthers since 2013 and are looking for their third consecutive win against Ole SSHS.
The Panthers could be doomed tonight.
Playing in Pantherville in odd-numbered years, the Cats won in 2001, ’03, ’05, ’09, ’15, ’17 and ’19.
Panther Stadium has seen Smiths win thrice in the series, including the double overtime ‘13 game; the Panthers also won in ’11, and in ’07, another double overtime thriller.
Now, using the 17 points Prattville scored against EHS last week as a measuring stick, Enterprise is 12-0 when allowing the Panthers 17 or fewer points.
For the record, against Prattville, the Cats are 13-4 when allowing up to 17 points.
Here’s a 2021 question for local high school football fans: which team in Coffee County has the same record as the 5-2 Cats?
Not Elba (6-1).
Not New Brockton (4-3).
Not Zion Chapel (the only football-playing high school in Alabama starting with a “Z”) (0-6).
Yep, it’s Kinston’s Bulldogs (5-2), a team that’s coaching staff includes Marty Marler, who recently reported the ’Dogs have played the last few games using their third-string quarterback due to injuries to the first two.
Kinston is seeking its first winning season since 2014.
Long-time Enterprise fans can’t forget back-to-back 2-8 seasons in 2017-18 that brought on the Darlington era that saw the Cats go 5-6 and 7-4 leading into this season.
While the heartbreak of last week’s loss will long be remembered, there’s immeasurable joy in seeing the Cats with a chance to win every game.
What’s happened before today is history; today is now.
Win tonight, guys, and you’ve got a winning regular-season record.
We need that in our bidness.
Go Cats …