Navarre’s quest for a 6A state championship begins tonight.
The Raiders open the postseason against Pace at Bennett C. Russell Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. The winner plays Escambia or St. Augustine next Friday night.
Navarre is making its seventh consecutive trip to the playoffs and enters it at 9-1 and as the No. 1 seed in the region. The Patriots are 7-3 and the eighth seed.
This is the second time these two teams are playing. Navarre won the regular-season meeting 49-30.
Winners of three consecutive games, the Raiders have hit their stride. They have scored 40 or more twice in their last three games and haven’t given up more than 13 points in any of their wins during the streak.
They continue to thrive off a balanced attack that has produced more than 3,200 yards, including a season-best 507 against Pace in September. Navarre has put up 2,099 yards through the air and 1,998 on the ground.
The defense has blanked an opponent in at least one half five times this season and has given up 2,009 yards while recording 16 sacks and forcing 17 turnovers.
It’s task tonight will be to slow down one of the better running backs in the state in Damean Bivens, who has rushed for more than 2,100 yards.
The Raiders are assured of homefield advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs. They are 19-4 at home since 2015. They have played in the state semifinals twice and have their sights set on reaching the 3 p.m. state final on Dec. 8 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
Jay Walls is 68-16 and in his seventh year as the head coach at Navarre. His team is 40-6 since 2015.
Marlon Courtney is six yards shy of 2,000 passing yards for the season and becoming the first quarterback since 2011 to hit that mark. He has thrown 16 touchdown passes this season.
Dante Wright comes in with 34 catches for 731 yards and has 2,377 receiving yards in his career. He has caught nine touchdown passes this season.
Chris Williams has rushed for 789 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s also returned a kickoff for a score.
Josh Carter leads the defense with 76.5 tackles.
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