Enterprise dumps St. Al; bags berth in state playoffs

Published 5:00 am Monday, October 22, 2001

VICKSBURG – Enterprise-Lincoln’s offense kept finding ways tomess up Friday night at St. Aloysius. Fumbles, penalties andinterceptions all stymied drives until Shermaine Vaughn finallybroke loose and carried the Yellowjackets into the playoffs.

Vaughn rushed for 77 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns asEnterprise (7-1, 6-0 Region 4-1A) rallied for a 14-6 win andclinched their first playoff berth since 1980.

“We just came out slow in the beginning. Our line was gettingoverpowered, but we had a great talk at halftime. Coach (RickyDeere) just told the line to block and they did in the secondhalf,” Vaughn said. “It was a great win. We’re in the playoffs andit feels great.”

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St. Al, which lost its fourth straight after starting the season4-0, fell to 2-4 in region play and will likely miss the playoffsfor the fifth straight season. The Flashes broke a 13 1/2-quarterscoreless streak on Michael Strickland’s 15-yard TD run with 6:54to play in the first half, but suffered from most of the sameoffensive woes that plagued Enterprise.

St. Al had only four first-downs in the second half, fumbled theball twice but recovered both, and the Flashes were sacked threetimes. Every mistake seemed to come as the Flashes were gainingmomentum, and served to kill a couple of promising drives.

“We just made miscue after miscue, whether it was physical ormental. Somebody fumbled or missed a block or whatever,” St. Alcoach Jim Taylor said. “We were just moving the ball and doingsomething good, and all of a sudden do something wrong.”

St. Al, which had been shut out in its last three games, finallybroke through with an impressive 15-play, five-minute drive at thestart of the second quarter. The Flashes converted on two of threethird downs and once on fourth down before Strickland capped thedrive with his TD run. The extra point was an apparent fake and wasno good, leaving the score at 6-0.

St. Al had a chance to extend the lead in the final minute ofthe half when it drove to the Enterprise 9. With about 20 secondsto play, however, the Flashes were without a timeout and opted togo for it on fourth-and-8 instead of trying a field goal.Quarterback Chad Cox was sacked by Billy Reeves for an 11-yardloss, and St. Al took the 6-0 lead into the locker room.

“I think we didn’t have any timeouts and didn’t really havetime. And we’re not really very good on field goals to start with,”Taylor said of the decision to go for it.

Enterprise had a pass intercepted deep in St. Al territory inthe first quarter and was penalized five times for 35 yards in thefirst half. Although the Yellowjackets recovered two of their ownfumbles, both crippled drives.

“We came out slow and every time we got something going, we’dget penalties that put us in long yardage situations,” Deeresaid.

The Yellowjackets finally got cranked up at the end of the thirdquarter, however. Taking over with 1:33 to play, they quickly droveto the St. Al 29 and Vaughn broke several tackles along the line onthe first play of the fourth quarter, sprinting through thesecondary for a 29-yard TD.

Scott Sasser barely sneaked the extra point past the leftupright to give Enterprise a 7-6 lead.

“It was a couple of sloppy tackles. I managed to knock them offof me and once I got by them I knew I was gone,” Vaughn said.

A 16-yard run by Justin Williams and a 15-yard penalty quicklymoved the Flashes to the Enterprise 38 on their next possession,but a sack, a fumble and two incompletions ended the threat. Aftera punt, St. Al drove to the Enterprise 23 before fumbling a snap onsecond down and taking a sack on fourth down.

The sack gave Enterprise the ball at the St. Al 47, and Vaughnadded an insurance score with a 22-yard TD run up the middle fourplays later, making it 14-6.

The Flashes had one last chance, but Matt Horn was stopped ayard short of the first down on a pass from Cox on fourth-and-10 atthe St. Al 43 with 1:06 to play.

“7-1 is better than 1-7 for us,” Deere said. “You could tell wewanted it in the second half.”

Enterprise improved to 6-0 in the region and 7-1 on the season.St. Al fell to 4-4 overall and 3-3 in region action. Mize alsoimproved their region worksheet to 6-0 and remains 8-0 on theseason after putting a 38-0 whipping on region foe Mount Olive.

Enterprise collected nine first downs and 249 total offensiveyards. The Jackets rushed the football 31 times for 206 yards.

Powering the Jacket ground game with 10 carries for 104 yardswas Shermaine Vaughn. Gerard Vaughn rushed 10 times for 61 yards.Bobby Smith picked up 24 yards on five carries.

Enterprise quarterback Justin Kyzar completed 3 of 7 pass for 43yards and was intercepted twice. Rufus Allen caught one pass for 28yards, Pierre Harthorne made one catch for 12 yards followed byShermaine Vaughn with a three-yard catch.

On defense, Shermaine Vaughn led with 15tackles. Making 10 stops and one sack was Gerard Vaughn.

The Jackets were penalized six times for 65 yards.

Enterprise visits unbeaten Mize Friday night to decide firstplace in the region.