The Raiders played four games in six days heading into Thanksgiving break. They finished 3-1 over that tough stretch.
Tate 1, Navarre 0
Considering the fact that Navarre was missing six starters, Coach Zac Preston would have probably been thrilled with a draw against district foe Tate.
The Raiders had a golden opportunity to draw first blood 55 seconds into the contest when they were awarded a penalty kick, but Mario Cruz’s attempt sailed over the crossbar.
Brandon Lawson, Bobby Holderman, Bailey Estep, Noah Cruz, and keeper Kyle Hickman were stellar on defense the entire game. Brendan Bartlett and Payton Jeltema were brought up from the JV squad and played significant minutes in place of the missing starters.
The game was scoreless at the half. Tate’s big break came with just over six minutes remaining in the contest. The Aggie’s Joe Estes got free behind the Raider’s defense and made good on the opportunity to give Tate a 1-0 advantage.
Navarre pressed hard the final few minutes but was unable to find the back of the net and suffered their its district loss.
Navarre 4, Pace 0
Two days after suffering its first district loss, Navarre bounced back with a resounding win over county rival Pace.
The Raiders were still short-handed when they traveled Saturday but did not allow the Patriots a single shot on goal.
Zach Shealy and Malone Doughty each scored once, and Mario Cruz added two goals in the comfortable win.
Navarre 2, Pensacola Catholic 1
Navarre had a few of their starters back when they hosted Catholic on Monday, November 23.
Despite the fact that the Raiders controlled the action in the first half and had several scoring opportunities, the game was scoreless at the intermission.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Crusaders were awarded a throw in deep in the Raider’s end. Navarre’s defenders couldn’t clear the throw and Catholic’s Seth Straw collected the loose ball in front of the net and buried the shot to put the Raiders down by one.
Their lead only lasted about seven minutes. Malone Doughty swiped the ball from a Crusader defender. Jonah Cruz broke to the goal after the steal and was able to head Doughty’s nice cross into the net behind Catholic’s keeper.
Ninety seconds later, Cruz got the game winner. Doughty made a pass to Matt Dunham who found Cruz open about ten yards out. The goal put Navarre up for good. The 2-1 victory improved Navarre’s record to 7-2.
Navarre 2, Escambia 0
Navarre jumped out to an early lead in a road game at Escambia and shut out the Gators to improve to 8-2 overall.
The Raiders started the game with 13 players available, and due to injuries, played the majority of the game with 11.
As has been the case on numerous occasions this year, the combination of Malone Doughty and Jonah Cruz proved to be the difference in the win. Navarre jumped out to a two goal lead in the first fifteen minutes of the contest. Doughty assisted on both of Cruz’s scores and the Raider defense pitched its fifth shutout of the season.
Navarre will host Crestview Thursday at Bennett C. Russell Stadium at 7:30 PM.