Raiders feature potent running attack

Omari Green didn’t play much at the varsity level a year ago but as the junior running back goes through summer workouts there is no question he is capable of playing a vital role in the success of the Navarre Raiders’ running game this season.

“I played a little bit toward the end of last year and that experience helped a lot,” Green said after practice Thursday morning. I’m used to the game speed now and I’m more prepared.”

Green is an example of the depth the Raiders have at the running back position. North Carolina commit Michael Carter, healthy again after a season-ending injury in week three last year, headlines the group.

Senior Aaron Mitchell, who went down with a knee injury last October, is expected to return at some point this season and there is a chance senior Xavier Fernandez, a star linebacker for the Raiders, could see time in the backfield also.

“We have Michael returning and we are excited about that,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “Omari is back, too. We feel like we have a lot of depth at the position.”

Depth was important a year ago as the Raiders lost their top two running backs – Carter and Mitchell – to injuries. Hasaan Williams, a third-string back to start the year, filled in nicely, rolling up more than 1,300 yards (1,355) and scoring 13 touchdowns.

“A coach once told me it’s better to have a lot of running backs,” Walls said. “Fortunately, we did.”

The next-man up mentality served the Raiders well as they went 10-0 in the regular season before falling in double overtime to Tate (23-22) in the opening round of the playoffs.

“You hope you don’t have to rely on every running back to be the man, but it’s certainly a good situation to have depth,” Walls said. “We do a good job of preparing those guys to play. We’ll have three or four ready to roll this year.”

Read more  in the July 21 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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