Enterprise football tackling challenge of postseason pressure
It is a rare athletic accomplishment and the team is feeling the pressure.
The Enterprise Hornets’ football program has practically the whole community supporting them, and that comes with lofty expectations as they head into the state playoffs.
"Kids coming down the street they're always asking when the game is, where it's going to be at,” said senior lineman Brandon Evers. “Everybody's just got a lot of support for us right now. Even our biggest rivals."
Enterprise has been selected to participate in the 2013 CIF State Regional Football Championship Bowl Game presented by Farmers. The decision was announced Sunday by the athletic commissioners at the CIF Regional Football Selection Sunday Meeting.
Just to make it this far is enough of an achievement for many. What they are doing and where they have gotten this season has only been done twice before in the CIF Northern Section.
That rarity brings an added responsibility, and the Hornets are trying to manage those expectations.
"We didn't start out thinking we were going to play in a regional bowl game,” said head coach Darren Trueblood. “So, you know, our goals were set early and we tried to accomplish those. Once we did those things, then we got the spoils."
Enterprise polished off an undefeated 2013 regular season and won a Division-I Northern Section title.
But now, they are taking on a new challenge. It is an unfamiliar test against a Manteca High School football team from a bigger athletic section (Sac-Joaquin).
The Hornets’ players realize the challenge that lies ahead.
"All this kind of stuff we have to prepare right for this kind of game,” said junior running back Isaiah Matthews. “You can't just go in, you know, willy-nilly thinking that it's just a game against someone from this northern section because it's not."
But with the tough competition comes the magnitude of the moment, according to Matthews.
"It's a ton of pressure, you know. We can't go down there and just get stomped,” he said. “It's not going to be good for our section. We're getting a shot like this - a shot we usually don't get up here - and we really have to execute."
"You know, there's pressure,” said Trueblood. “There's pressure on them as well. It's the first time that they've been in this situation. So, 17 year olds, you never know how they're going to handle it."
They are handling it with class. The team is making the most of the chance and getting the support to go along.
"We're having fun,” said junior linebacker Nick Tomasin. “This is a one time opportunity in life and, you know, you just have to take it to the fullest."
For the seniors it is a memory that could last a lifetime.
"I can't end my season any other better way than doing this,” said Evers. “So we can come out and have a great chance of a bowl win. It's picture perfect."
In Division-II, Enterprise (12-0) will face the Manteca High Buffaloes Saturday, Dec. 14 at Lincoln High School in Stockton.
According to the Northern Section CIF website, all bowl games will be played at 7:30 p.m.
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