Enterprise coming together for 2017 season
A win over Ethel followed by a 14-6 victory over Lincoln County rival Bogue Chitto got the Enterprise Yellow Jackets off to a great start last season.
The glory of the 2-0 start quickly disappeared as the Yellow Jackets lost seven of their last eight games and missed the playoffs as a result.
What stung for Enterprise was not only how they finished the season, but going 0-4 in district play and losing to Lincoln County rivals Loyd Star and West Lincoln.
The pain of how last season ended still lives within the players and they’re using it as motivation to be even better in 2017.
“I think our team got complacent with ourselves,” rising senior running back Tanner Waldrop said. “We just need to work hard every single week and get better every single day throughout the season.”
“Our group has been working really hard this offseason and our running backs have been working really hard as well,” Enterprise rising junior offensive lineman Noah Diamond said. “The people that are still down here are really close and will solve problems together when things get bad.”
The Yellow Jackets will have to replace their starting quarterback from the past couple of seasons in Zach Hodges and their four leading tacklers on defense.
The offense will depend on Waldrop to lead a strong ground game.
“Our offensive line does a good job and they allow us to get those extra yards at the end of runs,” Waldrop said. “We have to work together as much as possible and focus on getting positive yards every carry.”
Rising senior running back Darren Richardson will split the carries with Waldrop in their final season at Enterprise. The duo combined to rush for 1,120 yards and seven scores on the ground along with 208 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Offense is where Enterprise struggled last season by only putting up 177 points on the board. The team gave up 308 points on defense.
The team knows it has to be better on both sides of the ball in order to win football games this season.
“We are definitely getting closer together as a team,” Enterprise rising sophomore linebacker Taylor Young said. “The leaders on the team are doing a great job of building the team up. As a leader myself, I’m working every day to make others around me better.”
As only a freshman last season, Young played a pivotal role at outside linebacker and defensive end for the Yellow Jackets. Young finished with 53 total tackles, five sacks and one fumble recovery.
It meant a lot to Young earning valuable snaps as a freshman and he’s preparing for a larger role on defense this season.
“I knew I could work just as hard as the juniors and seniors on the team and I guess the coaches trusted me enough to do that,” Young said. “I play with heart and passion because I love the game of football and I always try to do my best.”
Rising seniors Gabe Haggard, Trestin Green and Danny Thomas will be three other players to look out for as well with Enterprise.
Diamond headlines a strong offensive line with rising senior Kail Jordan and rising sophomore Colby Beard returning up front.
“A lot of guys have been showing up this offseason and that’s been really encouraging,” Diamond said. “As a unit, I think our offensive line is going to be really good.”
The leaders on the team have admitted that players got frustrated with each other towards the end of last season.
That culture has changed and the players are making sure that never happens again.
“At times, we seemed more focused on getting after each other than focusing on the game itself,” Diamond said. “That’s definitely motivated us to be better this year and to make sure that never happens again.”