Raiders rally for big road win over Wildcats

Navarre’s football team has developed a reputation for being road warriors.

The eighth-ranked Raiders did nothing to tarnish it Friday night in Pensacola, winning their 13th consecutive road game with a 27-12 victory over Washington.

The streak dates back to the beginning of the 2015 season and that success is one of the reasons the Raiders (2-0) have been among the elite in the Panhandle.

A state semifinalist a year ago, Navarre has won 23 of its last 24 games in the regular season.

During the impressive run, the Raiders have scored 40 more eight times, and three of their road wins have come in the postseason

The script for the latest road victory was a bit of a nailbiter.

Navarre trailed 6-3 at halftime. Kevin Taich’s 26-yard field goal accounted for the Raiders’ only points in a half where the offense struggled to get on track.

Taich had another attempt before halftime, but the 20-yard try was no good. The Raiders had gotten inside the 10 on two big pass plays from Sage Chambers to Dante Wright.

Washington cashed in on a turnover deep in Navarre territory with a couple of minutes left in the second for its only points of the half. Wright blocked the extra point attempt.

“We didn’t feel like we had any momentum,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “We just told them the first half doesn’t matter. We just have to go out there and play ball.”

Navarre’s defense played with all-out effort in the first half and carried that momentum into the second half.

And then the offense came to life.

Tied at 6-6 thanks to a 35-yard field goal by Taich, Navarre took the lead for good on a 31-yard run down the right sideline by Dante Wright with 2:04 to go in the third.

Nolan Garrett’s interception moments later helped turn the momentum in the Raiders’ favor for good.

Omari Green eventually scored off the miscue on an 8-yard run early in the fourth and added another touchdown to ice the game with a little under two minutes later.

Washington scored a last-second touchdown to make the score look a little more respectable.

“I’m proud of the effort by our kids. I thought we played a good second half, an outstanding second half,” Walls said.

The Wildcats (1-1) scored 45 points last week against Milton but struggled mightily against the Raiders’ relentless defensive effort.

“We still have some more work to do,” Garrett said. “We would have liked the shutout, but we did good today. We got it done.

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