Finally! Raiders ready to play first home game

Nearly a year after its last game at home, Navarre’s football team will play a game at Bennett C. Russell Stadium again.

The Raiders host Choctaw tonight in the first meeting between the two squads since 2018. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Navarre last played on its home turf on Oct. 25 when it rolled over Crestview 52-14 to close out the 2019 regular season.

The Raiders were scheduled to play at home Sept. 18 in their season opener against Milton. But the arrival of Hurricane Sally changed those plans.

But after two games on the road, both wins, Navarre is glad to be back in a familiar setting. 

“It’s great to be back home,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “It’s going to be senior night, too. That’s big.”

Navarre was scheduled to play its game against the Indians Friday. But the Raiders moved the game up a day because of the storm threat. Hurricane Delta’s track has since shifted further west.

“We wanted to make sure we got this game in,” Walls said. “We need to play.”

The Raiders (2-0) have had the upper hand in their series with the Indians (0-3), winning the last four meetings. That includes the 2018 encounter by a 53-7 score.

Navarre is coming off a 35-21 come-from-behind win over Gulf Breeze in the Beach Bowl. Choctaw lost 35-28 to Fort Walton Beach last week and has allowed 35 or more points in all three of its games.

Walls said his team has made progress from week one to week two. He expects those strides to continue.

“I thought there was improvement from the first to second game and we just have to continue to get better,” Walls said.

Noteworthy

Navarre’s game against Choctaw will be the 100th of Walls’ career with the Raiders. He owns a 78-21 record. He is in his ninth season at the school.

Jaden Rivera has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the first two games to go along with five touchdowns. He has hit the 100-yard mark four times in his last five outings dating back to 2019.

Jason Deal and Zach Marquis combined to throw for more than 100 yards in last week’s game against Gulf Breeze. Trent Hall caught his first touchdown pass of the year.

The Raiders have yet to give up more than 95 rushing yards in a game. They have also not allowed a point in the second half of their first two games.

The Raiders have forced four turnovers on the season Three have come off interceptions. They have turned the ball over twice.

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