The Enterprise football team has already made history, now they just want a state championship to go with it.
After a dominant 24-0 shutout victory on Homecoming last Friday against North Sevier, the Wolves are off to their best-ever start at 5-0.
The best part about players say, is that nobody expected them to be in this position.
“When we saw that we were predicted to finish near the bottom of our region by some media outlets we all just laughed it off,” senior quarterback Jayson Holt said. “Nobody really knew what we had, but we knew and if we put in the work we were going to be successful.”
While players expected to be successful, going undefeated wasn’t something that crossed the minds of players and coaches.
“When I first got here, I looked at the schedule, and we were going up against some of the top teams that had big years last year,” said Enterprise first-year head coach Andy Messersmith. “I just wanted to be competitive and we’ve done that. The kids have really bought into what we are trying to do here and have really come together and become a team. The senior leadership is one of the best that I’ve ever been around that’s for sure.”
“I really couldn’t have dreamed of a better start to the season,” senior middle linebacker Jesus Morales added. “Everyone is excited at school, and it’s just been such a great year. It’s really more than I ever could have imaged.”
As a senior, dreaming of taking state is nothing new. Summer camps, two-a-days and early morning workouts in the weight room make it all worth it to hold the trophy up at the end of the season.
But for Morales, that almost wasn’t even a possibility after getting injured during summer camp.
“I ended breaking my rib on top of separating my shoulder,” he said. “I thought at that time that my season might have been over, but luckily I was able to come back and play this year.”
Fortunately, Morales didn’t even miss a game and has helped turn the Wolves defense into something special. Coming into Friday’s showdown against San Juan, the Wolves rank second in the state in any classification allowing just 7.4 points per game.
“When I came in, one of the first things that impressed me the most was seeing how many tackles Jesus had last year,” said Messersmith, the only first-time head coach that is still unbeaten. “He had over 100 tackles and nobody was even close to him, but this year he’s leading by just a couple of tackles. But that’s a good thing to see because it means the guys around him are stepping up so Jesus doesn’t have to do it all by himself.”
With its 5-0 start, players are doing their best to stay humble and hungry despite all the attention they are receiving at school and in the community.
“The community has been really supportive, and there is definitely a lot of excitement,”Messersmith said. “The nice thing is that I don’t have to remind the kids to not get a big head because they know there is still plenty to play for.”
“The school spirit is up a lot from last year and that was a big emphasis for us as seniors,” senior running back Caleb Koopmans said. “During one of the games I looked out into the crowd, and it was packed. People were standing everywhere, and that’s what’s going to continue to drive us. We play for our school and our community.”
Despite etching their names in the history books, players don’t like to talk a lot about the 5-0 start.
“It’s way cool, but we don’t talk a lot about it,” Morales said. “We just want to do the best that we can and get better every day. Every week we see ourselves 0-0. We haven’t won any games, and it makes that game the biggest on the schedule.”
While any 5-0 start is impressive, the fact that the Wolves have done it with a new head coach is pretty remarkable.
Coach Messersmith came from Uintah as an assistant coach and one of his first tests was getting kids to come out and play. In a small town, Messersmith knew most players had jobs so putting practices together was a bit of a challenge, let alone implementing a new offensive and defensive scheme.
“That was a huge challenge when taking the job,” Messersmith said. “It’s not because kids didn’t want to play or were lazy or anything like that. Most of them have been working on the farm and those sort of things and just didn’t have a lot of time to commit to football.”
Between 25-30 kids showed up in the summer with that number growing to around 50 when the season started.
“We love the coaching staff, but during our first true conditioning drill in practice, I didn’t think I was going to make it,” Holt said jokingly. “It was intense, but we made it and are just trying to get better every day.”
The Wolves will look to push their five-game winning streak to six against arguably its toughest test of the season in San Juan. The Broncos won last year’s game 41-6 and players would love nothing more than to get some revenge and to continue its record-breaking achievements.
“San Juan always has a good team, but if we limit our mistakes, we should be in the ball game,” Oswald said. “Hopefully we can come out strong and get some revenge after last year’s game.”
Whether they win or lose Friday night, players and coaches have already quieted the critics, but most importantly, have made believers out of themselves as they continue to chase after that elusive 2A state title.