Navarre is seeking payback and a trip to the Region 1-6A final tonight when it takes on Escambia in a 7:30 p.m. showdown at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
The top-seeded Raiders (10-1) lost 37-27 to the fifth-seeded Gators (9-2) back in October. They fell behind 20-0 in the opening quarter and could not recover despite a valiant comeback attempt.
Navarre is playing its best football of the year, having won its last four games.
The Raiders have really hit their stride defensively, not allowing more than 13 points in their last four outings. They nearly blanked Pace a week ago in a 38-6 first-round win. Navarre forced five turnovers in that game, including three picks by Dante Wright, who tied a school record. He’s the first Raider to have three interceptions in a playoff game.
Navarre has been opportunistic on defense all season and has forced 22 turnovers on the season.
Escambia is coming off a 36-16 road win over St. Augustine in the first round. The Gators have won their last three games.
Balance continues to be the recipe for success offensively. Navarre has nine different players who have scored a touchdown and it has racked up more than 2,200 yards through the air and close to 2,200 on the ground.
Navarre’s focus is on keeping a quick and athletic Escambia team in check, particularly Frank Peasant, who scored four touchdowns the last time these two teams played.
The Raiders are seeking their first trip to the regional championship game since 2016 and have their sights set on ultimately playing for the first state title in program history Dec. 8 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
The winner tonight plays either Pine Forest or Crestview next Friday. If the Raiders win, they will be at home for that game.
Jay Walls is 69-16 in his career at Navarre. He’s in his seventh season at the school.
Marlon Courtney is the first quarterback at Navarre to throw for more than 2,000 yards in a season since Matt Webb did it in 2014 and only the fourth in program history to do it. He has thrown for 2,127 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Dante Wright has 58 career touchdowns. He has 35 catches for 761 yards and nine touchdowns and has also rushed for nine scores.
Chris Williams is closing in on 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. He has rushed for 851 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has 13 touchdowns in all.
Josh Carter continues to lead a defense that has recorded 17 sacks and forced 22 turnovers. Carter is the leading tackler with 88.5 and is on the verge of getting to the 100-tackle mark for the third time in his career.