Greatness is available. Navarre head coach Jay Walls told his team that after it closed out the regular season with a 42-20 win over Niceville Friday night at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
In the postseason for the ninth time in program history, the Raiders are focused on making a run at the program’s first state championship.
The journey begins Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. game against the same Eagles team they played last week. Navarre enters the playoffs as the region’s fourth seed. Niceville is fifth.
The winner plays top-seeded St. Augustine or eighth-seeded Tate next week in a regional semifinal.
“We know that it’s win or go home and the game you are playing is the one that is important,” senior linebacker Cade Taylor said. “We have to take it one game at a time and not look ahead.”
Navarre reached the state semifinals last season and has preached the theme of being relentless this year.
The Raiders ended the regular season with an 8-1 record and a No. 10 ranking in the 6A Associated Press poll. They have playoff experience and understand what it takes to be successful at a time of the year where the next week isn’t guaranteed.
The first hurdle is Niceville (6-3).
“We have to be humble,” senior quarterback Sage Chambers said. “We know what we have to do and we are going to go to work and hopefully come out with a win.”
Sage Chambers has thrown for 1,158 yards and 13 touchdowns, connecting on two or more scoring strikes in a game five times.
Dante Wright has done a little bit of everything. He’s rushed for 520 yards and nine scores and has racked up 612 receiving yards to go along with a single-season record 10 touchdown receptions. He’s also scored off two interception returns, a punt return and he ranks fifth on the team in tackles (46.5).
Omari Green leads the Raiders in rushing with 653 yards and nine touchdowns.
Josh Carter is a versatile threat who has done damage on both sides of the ball. He’s the team leader in tackles (87) and has tallied 4.5 sacks. Offensively, he has scored three touchdowns, including two off runs, and he’s scored twice off blocked punts. Carter has also returned a pick for a score.
Cade Taylor has been one of Navarre’s most consistent defensive players, racking up 85.5 tackles and picking off two passes. He has also recorded 5.5 sacks.
James Segrest (46.5) and Jordan Jefferson (42.5) are also over 40 tackles for the year and have combined for 11.5 sacks.
Head coach Jay Walls is 58-14 at Navarre and has guided the Raiders to four district championships and six playoff appearances in six seasons.
The Raiders have rolled up more than 3,000 yards and have scored 40 or more four times.
Navarre has allowed only 85 points in the second half of the last eight games.
The Raiders have been successful on the money down. Opponents are just 37 for 113 on third down against Navarre.
Navarre has racked up 44 sacks.
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