Raiders thrive off defense in win over Gators

Defense has been a staple of Navarre’s success all season and that didn’t change Friday night in a crucial non-district showdown against Escambia.

It didn’t matter that Escambia came into the game as one of the better offensive teams in the area, a team that has put 28 or more points four times. The Raiders were ready for the challenge and slowed the Gators’ offense to a crawl in a 20-9 victory at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.

Navarre is now 7-0 and ranked No. 5 in the state, its latest win a credit to the fact that it embraced the challenge in front of it.

“All week we focused on assignment football,” senior defensive back Michael Sandle said. “Everyone did their job and we came out with a win.”

The Raiders spent the week preparing for the Gators, simulating the offense in practice and watching game film of last year’s 44-30 playoff win over Escambia.

“We went back and watched the game from last year,” Sandle said. “We made a promise we weren’t going to let it get out of hand again.”

The Raiders made good on that promise early on. Ryan DiAmco picked off a pass 10 seconds into the second quarter to set up a four-play drive that ended with Hasaan Williams running into the end zone for a 7-0 lead.

Read the full story in the Oct. 8 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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