I just wanted the kids to control what they can control and to make this a positive experience. —Enterprise head coach Andy Messersmith
ENTERPRISE — Coaching football at Enterprise certainly brings its share of unique challenges. But for first-year coach Andy Messersmith, he's done well meeting those challenges through five games played this season, with the Wolves currently sitting with a 5-0 record with players, and the community excited for what's ahead.
Getting players excited to even play football holds unique challenges at a high school as small and as remote as Enterprise. Located about 45 minutes north of St. George, the town of Enterprise consists of a hard-working farming community of about 1,700 people.
As for the teenage population of Enterprise, they're largely working as hard as anyone during the summer months, with some unable to dedicate a lot of time to prepare for a football season.
"Just convincing kids to even play was a huge challenge when taking the job," Messersmith said. "And it's not that kids are too lazy — just the opposite. These are kids who spend the summer months doing hard work — cutting hay and manual labor like that, so just getting them out and making that sacrifice wasn't easy, but something I really focused on doing."
Messersmith was used to doing as much during his days coaching as an assistant at Uintah, a remote community somewhat similar to Enterprise. His pitch to the kids was to simply understand the balance of work and football.
"In the past it seemed as if kids were punished for not showing up to practice and work out, so I took a different approach, knowing the work these kids have to do," Messersmith said. "I just wanted the kids to control what they can control and to make this a positive experience."
Messersmith's pitch largely worked, to the tune of just over 50 players choosing to be part of the team and, in turn, for the program to establish some relatively good depth in preparation for the season.
"If I can just maintain a number between 50 and 60, I feel we can make a good two-deep roster and be successful," Messersmith said.
Key to keeping the kids coming out, for rest of this year and beyond, is to win football games. So far so good on that front, five games into the season.
Successful components for Messersmith's team include a multiple offense that relies on four primary running backs. Leading the way out of the backfield is Caleb Koopmans, who has rushed for 264 yards and seven touchdowns so far this season.
"Caleb is doing a great job, along with John Oswald, and then Jayson Holt, our quarterback, and Ryan Holt," Messersmith said. "They're sharing it well, which makes it difficult to key on one player in our offense."
A big key for those runners involves a productive offensive line.
"We're able to rotate a lot of guys and keep everyone fresh," Messersmith said. "That's a big key for us."
Also boosting the play is a dedicated community that supports the players in full.
"The support we get is more than I could have imagined. That's truly the great thing about coaching here," Messersmith said. "They're so supportive of me, the kids — always complementing them and encouraging them."
Enterprise is about to encounter its sternest test of the season when taking on San Juan (4-1) this Friday. To travel to San Juan, Messersmith will have to bus his players six and a half hours east, in what presents a challenge in and of itself.
"We're going to find out where we are as a team, and just getting there will test us," Messersmith said. "But we're used to that sort of thing, but competing against San Juan — that's a huge challenge. But I feel that if we can go there, prove that we can compete with a great program like San Juan, then I feel we can challenge any (2A) team in the state."