The Raiders are anxious to leave behind last week’s disappointing 25-24 loss at Pensacola, but winning at Pace tomorrow won’t be easy. The Patriots, 2-0 with convincing wins against Panama City Beach-Arnold and Niceville, are ranked 10th in the most recent AP Florida High School Class 6A Football Poll.
Navarre (1-1) beat Pensacola Washington 33-7 in its season-opener and led Pensacola High 24-12 midway through the fourth quarter before the Tigers rallied.
Pace whipped Arnold 45-6 in its opener and outscored traditional powerhouse Niceville 28-17 at Niceville.
Longtime Patriots head coach Mickey Lindsey said it’s too early to predict how good his team might be.
“You have to take them one week at a time,” he said in a report published earlier this week. “You’ve heard it said, but it’s so true. You cannot look ahead … There’s no team on our schedule that you don’t have to respect. We just have to try to keep getting better. We have to keep working on improving.”
The Patriots have advanced to the state playoffs every year since 2005, 13 times since 1997 and 15 times since 1991, all under Lindsey. Pace ended Navarre’s first two forays into postseason play, both times in the first round, in 2006 (26-7) and in 2007 (55-13). Navarre beat the Patriots for the first and only time two years ago, 31-21, on its way to the Raiders’ best-ever season
Friday’s game promises to be a matchup of heavyweights. Despite being outscored, the Raiders rushed for more than 250 yards and gained almost 400 total yards of offense, more than twice Pensacola’s total. Pace is averaging more than 260 rushing yards per contest.
The Patriots running attack is led by senior quarterback Brice Moore, No. 8, and running backs J.C. Curry, No. 4, a senior, and sophomore Quaide Weimerskirch, No. 23.
Navarre senior running back Jay Warren left last week’s game in the third quarter with a thigh injury, but Raiders coach Jay Walls said Wednesday that Warren is OK. Johnny Robinson-Pettus, Marcus Mays and Nick Benton all have been productive rushers for the Raiders, as well.
Kickoff at Pace Patriot Field is scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Series: Pace leads 7-1
2011 Pace 27-23
2010 Navarre 31-21
2009 Pace 21-7
2008 DNP -
2007 *Pace 55-13
2006 *Pace 26-7
2005 DNP -
2004 DNP -
2003 DNP -
2002 Pace 55-6
2001 Pace 41-21
2000 Pace 56-21
* Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs