The good news: Enterprise High has a 2020 football schedule.
The flip side: In a word, Wildcats head coach Rick Darlington called it “brutal.”
“We go from the frying pan into the fire,” Darlington said as he discussed the lineup. “The thing is, I’m just glad we got a schedule, because for a while I didn’t know who we were going to play.”
The season opens in the AHSAA’s Week 0 on Aug. 21 at home against Miami Somerset Academy. The Wildcats stay at home the next week against Montgomery Carver. The region opener is Sept. 4 at Dothan High. Mobile’s Davidson will visit Enterprise on Sept. 11 — Military Appreciation Night — and the Wildcats travel to play Central-Phenix City on Sept. 18.
After an open date — a benefit of playing on Week 0 — Enterprise faces Prattville for homecoming on Oct. 2. Fall break is the next week and the Wildcats play at home against Smiths Station on Oct. 9.
The regular season ends with a trip to Montgomery and a game against Jeff Davis on Oct. 16, Senior Night at home on Oct. 23 against Auburn, and a road trip to Navarre (Fla.) on Oct. 30.
The new two-year region alignments likely made it more of a challenge to schedule non-region games.
“Up until the week that the regions came out no one would commit to us,” Darlington said. “It was really strange. Nobody around our area is going to play us because there are no bigger schools. But I thought for sure I could get somebody out of Mobile or Montgomery to come for two years, but I couldn’t get anybody to commit to us. I was very frustrated.
“But once the regions came out, then Davidson out of Mobile went ahead and signed up. Then Montgomery Carver said, ‘OK, we’ll play.’ Somerset had already agreed to play. We got those three, then Navarre (Fla.).
“That was set up through another party. There was another team in Florida I tried to play. They didn’t want to play us, but they said Navarre’s looking. I called Navarre and they agreed to play. We’ll go down there once and they’ll come here once.”
The other non-region games are two-year deals with both games in Enterprise.
Darlington called the schedule “95 percent complete,” adding he needs to finalize a contract for the season opener, a game at home against Miami Somerset Academy.
“I don’t know much about them,” the coach said. “They called me and wanted to play and we needed a game and we wanted someone to come to us. That’s the shakiest one, but I still feel it’s going to happen. The other nine I feel solid about.”
There are six home games and four on the road. The six region games are split evenly home and away.
Darlington said 7A, Region 2 will be even better in 2020.
“Montgomery Lee, we were able to come back and upset last year,” the coach noted. “They dropped down to 6A and they replaced them with Dothan, who beat us 47-9. Our region just got tougher. You’ve got Central-Phenix City, Prattville, Auburn and now you have Dothan in there — all teams that beat us very soundly last year.
“We have to pull a major upset just to get the fourth seed, if you look at it logically. That’s what we did last year with Lee. Who are we going to upset — Prattville, Auburn, Central or Dothan? That’s to get a 4 seed. It’s a brutal schedule.”
Likely 2020 Enterprise
Aug. 21 Miami Somerset Academy H
Aug. 28 Carver H
Sept. 4 Dothan A
Sept. 11 Davidson H
Sept. 18 Central-Phenix City A
Sept. 25 Open
Oct. 2 Prattville H
Oct. 9 Smiths Station H
Oct. 16 Jeff Davis A
Oct. 23 Auburn H
Oct. 30 Navarre (Fla.) A