Enterprise Wildcats

Josh McCray reaches out for a first down to keep a drive alive for Enterprise.

MONTGOMERY -- Enterprise stunned Montgomery’s R.E. Lee in a thriller at Cramton Bowl Friday night, 29-27.

Down by eight and needing a score, the Generals marched the field and quarterback Tyrone Franklin, Jr. hit tailback Reginald Davis for an eight-yard touchdown strike with just under a minute left in the game. Franklin’s pass on the two-point try fell incomplete.

On the onside kick attempt, a Lee player touched the ball before it traveled 10 yards, giving possession to Enterprise (3-5, 2-3) and sealing the Class 7A, Region 2 victory.  Lee (6-3, 3-3), which had won its first six games, has now lost three straight.

Thanks to the win a playoff spot is still within reach for the Wildcats. They’ll need a few things to fall into place regarding Prattville and Auburn, but the playoff aspirations are there.

For a bit, it didn’t seem that way.

The Generals got the ball first and scored in three plays. Davis got the TD, untouched, on a 30-yard scamper around the defense.

Enterprise responded by slowing the game down with a methodical 14-play scoring drive. Hunter Perry’s PAT tied the game 7-7.

From there, the teams traded shots. Enterprise’s defense kept the Generals largely in check.

Then, Lee landed what appeared to be the haymaker as Davis turned a short pass into a 62-yard touchdown with 1:06 left in the half to set up a 21-7 lead.

“I’m just so proud -- to be down 21-7 and come back like that,” Enterprise head coach Rick Darlington said after the game. “We blistered some paint in the locker room at halftime, but (the players) responded.  They had a chance to pack it in, and you’ve seen that before (with us) as far as these halftimes go.

“In the past, we would come back and fight and we couldn’t quite pull it off -- couldn’t quite get the stop or couldn’t quite get the score -- but, tonight, we put it all together.”

The Wildcats definitely responded.

On their second possession of the second half, quarterback Jackson Darlington found receiver Jared Smith for a 64-yard gain that set up a powerful five-yard Darlington TD run late in the third quarter.

With 5:01 left in the fourth quarter, Enterprise ended a 43-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run from Josh McCray, returning from an injury he sustained Sept. 12. McCray also ran in a two-point try to give Enterprise a 22-21 lead.

Between those scoring plays were two three-and-outs forced by the Enterprise defense, energized by LZ Leonard and McCray in his safety spot. The unit also forced a turnover on downs in the final quarter. 

“They battled, you know,” Darlington said of his defense. “They gave up some plays. The last one right before the half -- it disappointed us. Those last two (scores) or really all of them, all 21 they got in the first half, it was like, ‘Can you not cover that?’ Because we practiced so well on defense this week, and offense, too.

“I was just so proud of the whole team to fight like they did and get a region win.”

McCray -- who finished with three touchdowns and 52 yards on 10 carries in his welcome back party -- gave the Wildcats a late 29-21 lead when he ripped off a 25-yard TD run with 1:44 remaining in the game.

The Wildcats finished with over 200 yards rushing and 94 yards passing. Smith had 85 yards receiving on three catches and had one carry for 16 cards.

Enterprise did a good job distributing the ball, with 11 players contributing in rushing/receiving numbers. Among those players was Jordan Tacey, who carried nine times for 31 yards. Mykel Johnson also played and got 45 yards on 11 carries. He had previously been limited due to an ankle injury.

Darlington said playoff aspirations were “absolutely” motivation for the team heading into the game, and he said he hopes his guys can get a playoff shot because “(they) deserve it.” 

“We want to win,” he said. “I know that people may think that Enterprise shouldn’t say that, but we’re going to build a winning program here. We’re going to be a team to compete for state titles. I don’t know if it’s going to be sooner or later, but we’re going to do it.”

The two region wins mark the most for Enterprise since the 2016 season.

Jeff Davis (2-6, 1-4) visits Enterprise Friday at Wildcat Stadium.

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