Enterprise, area teams set for new season

Enterprise’s Josh McCray (6) runs during the team’s scrimmage game in May just before delivering a stiff arm to Kayln McNeese (7) on his way to a 70-yard touchdown.

The wait is almost over for area football fans.

Enterprise, Elba and New Brockton will play under the lights this Friday, all hoping to establish the tone of their respective seasons by securing victories.

Enterprise

After finishing 2-8 in 2018 and missing the playoffs for a second consecutive season, Enterprise brought in Rick Darlington -- a three-time state champion with Florida’s Apopka High School -- to lead the program.

His imprint on the program is immediately evident, as this year’s Wildcat team will look drastically different compared to previous seasons.

“It’s a totally different type of system from what they’ve had,” Darlington told The Ledger regarding his unique single-wing offense built around the run. “They’ve very much been a spread, air-raid type team and we’re definitely not going to be that. It’s doesn’t seem like we have the pieces for that. We don’t have a bunch of receiver types. We’ve got a lot more running back types, and I think that’s a good fit with the linemen we have and a good fit for what we’re trying to do.”

Darlington said emphasis has been placed on building a tough, disciplined football team that steadily improves throughout the season and plays its best ball in November.

Enterprise opens the season this Friday, at 7 p.m., against North Miami Beach in Wildcat Stadium.

Schedule:

Aug. 23 North Miami Beach

Aug. 30 at Charles Henderson

Sept. 6 at Auburn

Sept. 13 at Smiths Station

Sept. 20 Prattville

Sept. 27 Dothan

Oct. 4 Central

Oct. 11 off

Oct. 18 at Robert E. Lee

Oct. 25 Jeff Davis

Nov. 1 at Theodore

New Brockton

After a stint last season as special teams and defensive backs coach for Enterprise, Zack Holmes is taking over the head role at New Brockton.

Though he is in his first year as head football coach at New Brockton, Holmes knows about the Gamecocks’ recent history -- five straight state playoff seasons, but only one postseason win that came three seasons ago (2016).

Holmes said this year’s New Brockton team has some talented players with great work ethic ready to win some playoff games.

“I told them that if we are going to do something that you haven’t done in a long time, we have to do some things you haven’t been doing,” Holmes said. “The level of the work has to go up and they have taken that and run with it. We have guys that stay after (practice) every single day and get in a little extra work, whether it is snappers or the quarterbacks and wide receivers or defensive guys working out. They are taking on that blue-collar mentality, which is good.”

New Brockton kicks off the season at home against Providence Christian on Aug. 23.

Schedule

Aug. 23 Providence Christian

Aug. 30 at Brantley

Sept. 6 Luverne

Sept. 13 Central Hayneville

Sept. 20 at Goshen

Sept. 27 at Cottonwood

Oct. 4 at Calhoun

Oct. 11 off

Oct. 18 Highland Home

Oct. 25 at Zion Chapel

Oct. 31 Samson (Thursday) 

Elba

Elba finished 8-3 last season, falling in the second round of the playoffs, during their first season in Class 1A, Region 2. Elba Head Coach Pate Harrison enters his second year at the helm of the program with the challenge of replacing Richmon Singletary and Alex Wright.

Harrison said the team will be young, but a few leaders -- including linebacker Dezmion Roberson -- are “taking ownership of the team.”

Key games for the Tigers will be a road matchup against Brantley on Oct. 4 and a home game against Georgiana the following week.

Schedule:

Aug. 23 at Daleville

Aug. 30 Opp

Sept. 6 Pleasant Home

Sept. 13 Kinston

Sept. 20 at Florala

Sept. 27 G.W. Long

Oct. 4 at Brantley 

Oct. 11 Georgiana 

Oct. 18 Red Level 

Oct. 25 at McKenzie

Zion Chapel

The Rebels finished 5-5 in 2018 and missed the playoffs in Randy Bryant’s first year as head coach. It was the team’s best finish since 2011, when they finished 8-3.

Bryant said if the team keeps “making progress, doing the right things (it will eventually) pay off.”

He said smaller schools are cyclical with talent and improvement takes time.

“They understand the important of the weight room,” he said. “We’ll try to be stronger and faster, because that’s what helps you win football games.”

Zion Chapel plays a preseason game this Friday at Houston Academy.

Schedule:

Aug. 30 Red Level

Sept. 6 at Goshen

Sept. 13 at Luverne

Sept. 20 Calhoun

Sept. 27 at Kinston

Oct. 4 Highland Home

Oct. 11 Central-Hayneville

Oct. 18 at Samson

Oct. 25 New Brockton

Nov. 1 at Pleasant Home

Kinston

The Bulldogs haven’t made a playoff appearance since 2015, and Kinston is bringing in Rudy Free as its new head coach.

Free spent four seasons as defensive coordinator at Luverne before getting the job.

After finishing 2-8 in 2018, the Bulldogs will look to perform well in big games Elba and Georgiana.

Schedule:  

Aug. 30 at Samson

Sept. 6 Brantley

Sept. 13 at Elba

Sept. 20 Red Level

Sept. 27 Zion Chapel

Oct. 4 at McKenzie

Oct. 11 Pleasant Home

Oct. 18 at Georgiana

Oct. 25 at Florala

Nov. 1 Cottonwood

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