From 28 to 0-no to oh what a win.
In an instant classic between two state ranked teams, Navarre scratched, clawed and grinded its way to an unbelievable 41-35 comeback victory over Crestview Friday night at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
Dante Wright punctuated the heart-stopping win when he bolted for the end zone on a 9-yard game-clinching touchdown run in overtime.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Wright said. “It was good that I did (get in).”
The already energized crowd went nuts, celebrating what, early on, seemed to be the unthinkable on a humid evening in Northwest Florida.
Sixth-ranked Navarre trailed No. 9 Crestview 21-0 after one quarter. The Raiders (3-0) went into the locker room down 28-0 to the Bulldogs (2-1) and facing the possibility of losing their first game in the month of September since 2013.
“I went to the locker room and prayed. I prayed to God that no matter what happens, that we would still love the game,” Wright said. “We came out and played our hearts out. It’s just a good victory for the team.”
Josh Carter tied the game at 28-28 with 3:43 left in the fourth on a 3-yard run. He used an extra effort at the goal line on the two-point conversion to tie the score. He refused to be denied.
“I was thinking if I don’t score I’m going to be letting a lot of people down, and I don’t like that feeling,” Carter said. “I know if I don’t like that feeling, I’m not going to let it happen.”
Carter also rose to the occasion in overtime, picking off a pass on the Bulldogs’ first possession. He was on his way to returning it for the game-winner but rules do not allow for an interception return in OT.
It didn’t matter. The Raiders got the ball back and Wright closed the game out with his fourth touchdown.
“I didn’t even know we were giving the ball back to the offense. I was going to score,” Carter said. “You know me. I’m going to the end zone.”
Navarre head coach Jay Walls was thrilled afterwards. He even danced with his team in the locker room as it savored a win that made noise across the Panhandle.
“I’m proud of the way our guys still had poise at halftime,” Walls said. “Nobody had their head down. Nobody was panicking. We came out and just played.”
Read more about the Raiders in the Sept. 13 edition of the Navarre Press. Subscribe online at navarrepress.com for as little as $38 per year.