Raiders have a lot riding on rivalry game

One week remains until Navarre and Gulf Breeze square off in their annual rivalry game. But much more than the Beach Bowl Trophy will be on the line as the Raiders can also clinch the District 2-6A championship with a victory over the rival Dolphins.

Navarre will enter the game at 8-0 overall and 2-0 in district play. The Raiders are ranked fourth in the state as well and have won the last eight meetings against the Dolphins, who sit at 2-6 overall and 1-1 in the district.

“Something is wrong if our guys need to be motivated,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “We’re playing for bragging rights, and that’s big, but when you add in the district championship and a home playoff game, it adds even more fuel to the fire.”

Navarre, which closes out the regular season against eighth-ranked Niceville Nov. 6, will assure itself of home field in the opening round of the playoffs with a win Friday.

Gulf Breeze won three consecutive games in the rivalry between 2004 and 2006 but hasn’t won since after beating Navarre 24-22 nine years ago.

The Raiders started their current streak with a 35-14 win in 2007.

Only one of the last eight games between the two schools has been decided by less than 10 points. The Raiders have shutout the Dolphins twice during the stretch, including a 35-0 win a year ago.

Gulf Breeze will come into the showdown having lost its last two games. The Dolphins have scored at least 17 points in every game they have played this season, putting up 20 or more six times. They have given up 40 or more five times, including last week in a 42-31 loss to Pace.

It’s been a different story for Navarre, which has scored 310 points in eight games – 102 less than it scored all of last year – and has given up just 98 points.

Navarre blanked Milton 35-0 in its last game, marking the second time the Raiders have shut out an opponent this season.

Offensively, the Raiders have churned out more than 2,300 rushing yards. Hasaan Williams has paved the way with 873 yards and seven touchdowns.

Read more in the Oct. 29 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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