Fans of the Enterprise Wildcats may soon enjoy more home football games.
At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Enterprise City Schools Board of Education, board members agreed unanimously to authorize Superintendent Greg Faught and the football program to negotiate with teams and have them travel to Wildcat Stadium.
Faught said the Class 7A, Region 2 Wildcats regularly have to travel “a minimum of two hours away from Enterprise” to participate in regular area play, and it costs the school district thousands of dollars.
A trip to Mobile, he said, would cost around $15,000 and some trips to area schools are north of $10,000. Enterprise actually traveled to Mobile County twice for back-to-back games against Theodore and McGill-Toolen to close out the season.
Other road games this season were Charles Henderson (Troy), Auburn, Smiths Station and Robert E. Lee (Montgomery). Aside from Charles Henderson, each game was at least 80 miles away from Enterprise and Smiths Station is a near 120-mile trip from the school, one-way.
Negotiating with two to three football teams outside the region per year, Faught said, should save the school system money and generate additional revenue through ticket sales and concessions — the North Miami Beach home opener this season reflects that.
“Our typical home game and concessions can add up to be close to $30,000,” he said. “For instance, (this past season) we contracted with North Miami Beach. We paid $6,000 for them to travel 11 and a half hours north to play us, and our gate (generated) around $30,000 with concessions.
“It really is a no-brainer. It’s a win-win proposition when we can do that, have more home games, keep our students here and hopefully enjoy a little home field advantage, as well. It’s also an incentive for us financially.”
He cited potential benefits to other sports — which take turns organizing and selling concessions and are allowed to keep proceeds — and the city. Bringing schools to Enterprise would bring traffic and those individuals would likely dine and shop in the city.
Ideally, Faught said, negotiations would bring in three home games per year with teams committing to travel to Enterprise in back-to-back years. He would not rule out a home-and-home series, but said the general idea is to get teams to come to Wildcat Stadium — especially as AHSAA reclassification is expected to impact the region.
Dothan High School could move to Class 7A, Region 2 after consolidation of the Northview and Dothan schools. The Wildcats hosted Dothan this season.
“We’re looking like we’re going to be in an eight-team region next year,” Faught said. “(Dothan) is probably going to be in our region, so we’ll probably have four away region games where last year we had three home and three away, so that will give us an opportunity for three more games potentially to have at home. You could have six at home this year and that would be great, possibly seven next year.”
Even one additional home game, according to Faught, would be welcomed.
Negotiations are in the beginning phases, but Enterprise could look outside the state to bring in competition. Head coach Rick Darlington’s time as a coach in Florida and Georgia could help the program bring in teams.
Additionally, Enterprise might schedule games against closer schools that do not traditionally play Enterprise.
Faught said emphasis will be placed on bringing in teams that can be competitive.