It’s time for football. The Navarre Raiders begin what they hope is a long season when they kick off their 2017 campaign against Pensacola Catholic tonight at Bennett C. Russell Stadium. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
Navarre was 12-2 a year ago and reached the state semifinals for the second time in program history. The Raiders begin this season ranked ninth in the state in 6A in the Associated Press preseason poll.
The Raiders will face a Crusaders team that went 4-6 last year. Navarre defeated Catholic 4-13 in the opener last season.
Navarre begins its sixth season under the direction of head coach Jay Walls, who is 50-13 in his career with the Raiders.
Below is a look at some of the players to watch, including their stats from last season.
QB Sage Chambers: He completed 23 of his 41 passes for 418 yards and also threw a touchdown pass during a junior season where he missed most of the season because of an injury. But he’s healthy again and looks poised to have his best season yet.
RB Omari Green: He rushed for 181 yards and two scores and should play an even bigger role in the running attack this season.
RB Chris Williams: Williams only rushed for 78 yards and a touchdown in a limited role last season but is set to be a key contributor in the backfield.
WR Dante Wright: Wright might just end up as the most electrifying player in the area this season. Only a junior, he came through with 35 catches for 740 yards and six touchdowns last season. He also rushed for five scores.
WR Bryson Brewer: After limited playing time last season, the senior has the potential for a breakout season. Brewer caught 14 passes for 82 yards a year ago and also rushed for 60 yards.
WR Sam Register: Injured in the last game of the season in 2016, Register is healthy again and ready to roll. He caught eight passes for 119 yards and a touchdown last year.
OL Darrell Hixon: Coming off a successful summer, he’ll anchor an offensive line that helped the Raiders crank out more than 3,000 yards last year. Hixon was named one of the top lineman in the nation at the Top Gun camp in South Carolina.
LB Josh Carter: Switching over from the defensive line, Carter is eager to pick up where he left off in 2016when he racked up 104 tackles and 11 sacks.
LB Cade Taylor: One of the top returning defensive players for Navarre, Taylor is coming off a junior season in which he tallied 57 tackles and recorded four sacks as well.
LB Nolan Garrett: Garrett played in the secondary last year but has moved over to linebacker. He made 54 tackles last year.
Check out more coverage of the Navarre Raiders on navarrepress.com and in the Aug. 31 issue. You can also Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.