Mark Clark: ‘You will regret it if you do it’

Mark Clark: ‘You will regret it if you do it’

This is another big week for the Central High Red Devils. The Red Devils will play host to the Enterprise High Wildcats at Garrett-Harrison Stadium on Wayne Trawick Field. Just an aside – if you flip back a few pages, you will see a history story about Jesse Thomas “Tommy” Garrett, Central’s third football coach and the man whose name begins the name of the stadium in which the Red Devils play.

Central and Enterprise are playing for the 33rd time since 1966. The Red Devils lead the series 21-11-1. The Red Devils have defeated Enterprise nine of the last 10 times they have played. The Wildcats’ last victory in the series came in 2015 on a Thursday night in Enterprise 17-14. It was an embarrassing loss for Central in a game it should have won, but fell short on a fourth-and-goal play from the Enterprise one-yard line. It was also the only loss Central has suffered in Class 7A Region 2 since it was created in 2014.

Since that loss, Central is 26-0 in region play. Since 2014, Central is 37-1. 

Since the loss to Enterprise in 2014, Central has defeated the Wildcats by scores of 43-24, 55-7, 48-0 and 42-13. There are no doubt teams change over the seasons. A team Central has pretty much routed over the last eight of nine games. In each of those victories, Central scored no fewer than 40 points against the Wildcats. In the other game Central won in the last 10 years, the Red Devils scored only 27 points in a 27-14 victory. That win came in 2008.

Central is a perfect 3-0 against the Wildcats in the playoffs. In 1984, Central beat Enterprise 22-21 in Enterprise in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs. That was the first year of Class 6A. The year before, Central was in Class 4A which was the highest classification in 1983. There were a few other “firsts” in 1984. That was the first time Central went a perfect 10-0 in the regular season and first 10-win season. An aside: The coach was Wayne Trawick – the man whose name is on the field where the Red Devils play. The Red Devils had gone a perfect 9-0 in 1944 under Jesse Thomas “Tommy” Garrett in his third season as the team’s football coach. That season, the 1984 season, was the first time Central won 12 games in a season and the twelfth victory came against the Wildcats. And that playoff victory over Enterprise was the first one ever for the Red Devils in the second round. The first playoff victory came in 1984 against Carroll High of Ozark 26-8. Another aside: The first 12-win season came in Wayne Trawick’s twelfth year with the school. 

The next time Central met Enterprise in the playoffs was in 1993 – the year the Red Devils won the Class 6A championship against West End 12-7 at Legion Field. It was the victory over Enterprise that sent Central to the title game, Central defeated Enterprise 21-20 in overtime at Garrett-Harrison Stadium on Wayne Trawick Field. Another aside: Central’s 21 points against Enterprise came as Wayne Trawick entered his twenty-first year with the Red Devils. The 1993 season was the first time Central had a 14-win season. Central won the championship, but did not win Class 6A Region 5. The Red Devils came in second in the region to Opelika. Opelika beat Central 22-21 that year. The Bulldogs were eliminated from the playoffs by Enterprise 14-3 in the third round – the game before facing Central.

The last time Central faced Enterprise in the playoffs was in 1994. The Red Devils reached the Class 6A playoffs by winning Region 7. Enterprise was the runner-up in Region 4 to Northview High of Dothan – a school that combined with Dothan High to become the new Dothan High and a Class 7A Region 2 opponent for both the Red Devils and Wildcats. Central defeated Enterprise 10-7 in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Central defended its Class 6A championship until it lost in the third round to eventual 1994 champion Anniston High.

Beginning in 2000, Central and Enterprise have been in the same region in either Class 6A or Class 7A with the exception of 2012 and 2013 when Enterprise, Northview and Dothan were placed in a region with five teams in Baldwin County. During The years Central and Enterprise have played in the same region, the Red Devils lead in the series 15-3. Before Central and Enterprise were placed in the same region, the Wildcats led the series 7-6-1.

It seems Enterprise has always been a part of Central’s success – to some degree. The Wildcats were a small part of the Red Devils’ 2018 championship in Class 7A. The Wildcats were one of the 14 victories Central collected that season. Enterprise lost to the Red Devils 48-0 in 2018 – the seventh victory of the 14 for Central. With those seven wins and the next seven Central would collect in 2018, the Red Devils matched the most victories in the team’s history – tying the 1993 championship team’s total. Enterprise’s loss was a part of the first 14-0 perfect season posted by Central in 2018. The Wildcats’ loss was a part of only the second perfect season in Central’s football history.

To conclude this column on Central and its football history, I must tell you of a threat from my daughters that was made this past weekend. Anyone who knows me knows when I die, I want to be cremated and my ashes be buried at Garrett-Harrison Stadium. I wanted them to be spread across the 50-yard line when the field was grass. I do not want to be spread on the 50-yard line of the new artificial turf there because I would be vacuumed up and put in the city dump. I guess they will have to figure a way to put my ashes under the rug now. My daughters knowing this and also knowing I detest Cutts restaurant in Enterprise threatened to have my ashes – or a portion of them – buried at the gut-busting hotdog joint. I refuse to eat there when I go to Enterprise because of past experiences there. They never have the things I want on the restaurant’s menu. And when a friend asked what kind of fish they had on the buffet; he was told that the fish’s name began with the letter ‘P’. He said “then it’s perch.” The lady told him “no” it wasn’t perch. Well, we knew it was not porpoise, pompano, puffer or pike. 

So, if my daughters try to put any of my ashes at Cutts, I promised to haunt them for the rest of their lives. I also promised to haunt them if any of my ashes wind up in an onion field or at Auburn University. I told them, “You will regret it if you do it.” And I meant it. 

 Mark Clark is a local sports writer for The Citizen of East Alabama.