PENSACOLA – Navarre's Raiders beat sixth-ranked Catholic the old-fashioned way Friday; they earned it. The Raiders outscored the Crusaders 26-0 at Catholic’s Gorecki-LeBeau Stadium with a punishing defense and a grind-it-out ground attack.
“Our defense did a great job tonight, without a doubt,” Navarre coach Jay Walls said after the game. “But I think the key to the game was our offense. We talked about all week that, if we can have success running the football, and we protect the football, we can win the football game.”
The offense sputtered in the first half. Navarre took the lead on the first play of its second possession, when senior Jay Warren took the handoff from quarterback Andrew Rieves on a misdirection play, burst through the line of scrimmage and sprinted 83 yards for a touchdown. Chandler Moorer’s kick gave Navarre a 7-0 lead, and the score remained unchanged at halftime.
The Raiders received the second-half kickoff and marched 78 yards in 13 plays, capped by a 21-yard scoring toss from Rieves to Nick Benton, who made a strong-handed grab in traffic down the middle of the field for a touchdown. On the Raiders’ next possession, Johnny Robinson-Pettus slid off a block after it appeared he was hemmed in by Crusaders, bounced outside, and rambled 41 yards for Navarre’s third touchdown.
Warren added a 74-yard run in the fourth quarter that set up his second touchdown, a 3-yard plunge through the line. Moorer’s extra point ended the scoring.
Catholic (4-1), which came into the contest undefeated and ranked sixth in the latest AP Florida High School Football Class 3A poll, mounted several drives but couldn’t score. Six times, Catholic tried to convert fourth downs in Raider territory. Six times, the Crusaders failed.
“Shutting out Catholic, with the kind of offense they have, is an accomplishment. They can score some points,” Walls said.
Navarre (4-1 overall) won its third straight road game against a traditionally strong opponent – Pace, Niceville and Catholic – and finished a stretch of four road games 3-1 with only a 25-24 loss at Pensacola marring its record. The Raiders host Choctawhatchee on Friday.
Navarre 26, Catholic 0
Nav 7 0 12 7 – 26
Cath 0 0 0 0 – 0
NHS – Jay Warren 83 run, Chandler Moorer kick. 6:19
NHS – Nick Benton 21 pass from Andrew Rieves, kick failed. 6:40
NHS – Johnny Robinson-Pettus 41 run, pass failed. 2:46
NHS – Warren 3 run, Moorer kick. 7:40