Enterprise caps homecoming week with win over Salem

Published 11:00 am Saturday, October 16, 2021

In a battle of two teams desperately wanting a win, it was the Enterprise Yellow Jackets who left the victors Friday on Harry Cole Field.

Two second half touchdowns helped push the Yellow Jackets (3-5) past Salem (0-7) for an 18-8 win.

“I’m very happy for the guys,” said Enterprise coach Trey Woodard as he finished talking to a smiling group of Yellow Jackets on Cole Field.

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“They’ve been working hard all season and their effort has never faltered, even when we’ve been outgunned,” said Woodard. “They deserve to win this, but at the same time I’ve got to acknowledge how hard Salem played. They’re like us, playing in a district that’s loaded with talent.”

Region 4-1A has both the defending MHSAA 1A state champs (Lumberton) and 2A state title holders (Taylorsville) along with perennial 1A/2A contenders such as Bay Springs, Mount Olive and Resurrection Catholic.

It’s a battle for EAC and Salem each week against some of the best small school programs this state has to offer.

EAC had beaten Hillcrest Christian on the road in the season opener and also got a forfeit win over Ethel. The win against Salem came in front of a large homecoming crowd.

Enterprise led 6-0 at halftime after senior quarterback Matthew Burns fired a touchdown pass to junior receiver Lane Hoover in the first quarter.

The Jackets forced a punt from Salem to open the third quarter and then took control of the game with a drive to extend their lead.

On the first Enterprise play of the third quarter Burns raced 50-yards down inside the Salem 10-yard line.

After a loss on second down, senior Brayden Polk scored from the 10-yard line for Enterprise. The 2-point conversion was no good and EAC led 12-0 with 8:12 remining in the third quarter.

The Wildcats from Tylertown weren’t ready to quit though and got a score on their next drive. Tykervius Harris hit Christopher Riley with a short pass and as two Enterprise defenders collided, Riley spun out and went 60 yards for the score. The 2-point conversion was good, and Salem trailed 12-8 with 5:45 remining in the third quarter.

The final score of the night came on a Burns 3-yard touchdown run with 1:23 left in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter went by quickly as neither team passed much, and the clock rarely stopped. A great leaping interception by freshman defensive back Landon McNickles of Enterprise killed on hopeful Salem drive with seven minutes remaining in the game.

After forcing a turnover on downs with 90 seconds left, the Jackets took three straight knees to walk away with the win.

Senior tight end Tre Baker has been a starter for Enterprise since he joined the varsity. The homecoming win was especially sweet for he and the other members of the class of 2022 on a team that’s sophomore and freshmen heavy.

“There’s a lot of young talent on this team and I think that they’re only going to get better as they get older,” said Baker. “It felt great to get the win tonight. We had a good game plan and coach Woodard had us prepared tonight.”

Runs to the outside by Burns, Polk and Seth Mitchell were the primary way that Enterprise moved the ball which was a change for a team that’s thrown the ball more often this season.

“We had some stuff that we did last year that we felt like would work tonight,” said Woodard. “We ran some of our stretch stuff and all the guys that ran it did so with a lot of effort. It’s a credit to our seniors for being leaders and keeping the younger guys working and focused and bought in.”

Enterprise travels to Lumberton next week.