Raiders focused and ready for regional final

Navarre football players will get a chance to watch a little football on Thanksgiving, but they are much more excited about the game they will play in the day after they gobble up some turkey.

The Raiders (11-1) are making a nearly 400-mile trip across the state this week to battle St. Augustine (11-1) in a 6A regional final at HL Brumley Stadium.

Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. local time and the winner advances to play either Ocala Vanguard or Lake Gibson in a state semifinal Dec. 2.

“It will be like watching football on Thanksgiving, except we get to practice,” senior running back Aaron Mitchell said.

Preparing for a game this late in the season is new to the Raiders, who are vying for a state semifinal trip for the second time in program history.

The players won’t have school this week because of Thanksgiving break but that shouldn’t throw off their routine.

“It will be like in the summer when you eat, sleep, practice football and repeat,” Mitchell said. “We have no doubts that we’ll stick with the grind, stay focused, keep our blinders on and keep this run going.”

Navarre, coming off a 60-28 win over Tate, faces a daunting task in facing off against the Yellow Jackets, who crushed Crestview 41-14 to punch its ticket to this showdown.

St. Augustine has a storied history of success and has made 18-consecutive postseason trips. The Yellow Jackets won the title in 2005.

Preparing for an unfamiliar opponent, though, doesn’t seem to concern the Raiders.

“We’ll try to get as much film as we can on them and get to work,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “Our focus is on getting ready for this game.”

Read more in the Nov. 24 edition of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here.

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