Raiders suffer stunning playoff loss to Aggies

The Navarre Raiders’ dream season came to a close Friday night.

A point away from sending a 6A regional quarterfinal against Tate into triple overtime, Saturn Wagner’s extra-point attempt was blocked and the Raiders’ hopes for a state championship were dashed in a gut-wrenching 23-22 loss to the Aggies at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.

Michael Sandle had tied the game moments earlier on a 2-yard touchdown catch from Sage Chambers but Wagner, playing in only his second varsity game, was unable to tie the score as the Aggies pulled off the upset of the third-ranked team in the state.

The Raiders (10-1), coming off the first unbeaten regular season in school history, took the loss hard as players wore looks of shock as they walked off the field on a chilly November night.

“It’s sad to let people down and have it end this way,” senior Michael Sandle said.  We were so close.”

Neither team scored in the opening quarter but the Raiders broke the scoreless tie with 4:01 left in the half when Hasaan Williams busted through a hole and dodged a few tackles en route to scoring on a 44-yard run. His touchdown gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead.

Navarre led 7-0 at halftime but the Aggies tied the game late in the third. Williams scored again with 9:23 left in the fourth. The extra point was blocked and the Raiders clung to a 13-7 advantage.

Tate tied the game again and its extra point was blocked as well as the two teams went to OT tied at 13-13. Both teams exchanged field goals in the first OT before the Aggies went up 23-16 in the second OT.

Williams ran 8 yards on first down on Navarre’s second possession of double OT before Chambers hooked up with Sandle on a pass in the end zone to slice the Tate lead to one.

“We had opportunities and we competed the entire game,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “I’m proud of the effort of our kids. We came up a little short. That’s the playoffs.”

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