Bring on the Beach Bowl. Navarre and Gulf Breeze play their rivalry game tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
A lot is on the line.
There’s the District 2-6A championship and automatic berth to the playoffs. There’s also bragging rights and a Beach Bowl trophy.
This is 11th time the Raiders and Dolphins are playing for the trophy. It’s the 20th time overall that the two teams have squared off. Navarre leads the all-time series 11-8.
The seventh-ranked Raiders (7-1, 2-0) are the reigning district champs and seeking their sixth title in program history. The Dolphins (7-1, 2-0) are looking for their first title since 2016.
Two of top offensive threats in the area will be on the field. Navarre’s Dante Wright has caught 29 passes for 484 and five touchdowns while rushing for 180 yards and seven scores.
Gulf Breeze features Tyler Dittmer, who has rushed for nearly 2,000 yards (1,949) and 24 touchdowns.
Both teams have been tough to slow down, scoring 343 points apiece. The Raiders have allowed 165 points. The Dolphins have given up 173.
Both teams are coming off a bye week and both won their last game. Navarre hammered Milton 49-12 two weeks ago. Gulf Breeze rallied for a 45-42 win over Pace.
The last two meetings have been decided by six points or less. The winner is assured of a top four seed in the playoffs and a first-round home game.
Jay Walls is 66-16 and in his seventh season as Navarre’s head coach.
Wright is the first in program history to get to 2,000 receiving yards. He has 2,130 and needs only 15 more receptions to be second all-time in that category.
Josh Carter is the Raiders’ leading tackler. He has 56.5 on the season. Carter has also rushed for 266 yards and seven scores.
Navarre has seven players who have scored two or more touchdowns.
The Raiders have scored 41 or more five times, including 53 twice, and have pitched three second-half shutouts.