Caine Adamson is quietly becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the area.
Forced to be the full-time starter when Sage Chambers went down with an injury in week three — the two had split the signal caller duties up until that point — the Navarre senior has embraced the role and run with it.
Friday night’s performance against Milton was his best performance yet. He threw for three touchdowns, the most he has had in a game all season, and also ran for a score as the eighth-ranked Raiders smashed Milton 44-0 in a District 2-6A battle at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
Adamson completed 12 of his 16 pass attempts for 210 yards and didn’t turn the ball over.
“I think I’m just getting the opportunity to lead more and that has helped me come out more in my play,” Adamson said.
But like every other quarterback, Adamson is quick to credit the guys up front. He was rarely under pressure, allowing him to pick apart the Panthers and push the Raiders over the 40-point mark for the fourth time this season.
“I couldn’t do any of it without my offensive line. Those guys are great,” Adamson said.
Navarre (7-0, 2-0) stretched its regular-season win streak to 19 games and recorded its first shutout of the year.
Dating back to last week’s 17-13 road win over Escambia, the Raiders have not allowed a point in seven consecutive quarters. The defense got pressure on Milton (2-6, 0-2) all night, forcing bad throws, deflecting passes and allowing the Panthers little room to run.
Tyson Brown even picked off a pass, his third of the season. The big play came just moments after Navarre scored its first points of the night.
“They have a good quarterback and a big offensive line. We felt we had to play well defensively to get this win,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “To get the shutout is outstanding for our team.”
This night belonged to Navarre right out of the gate. Xavier Fernandez hammered the punter on a fumbled snap on Milton’s opening drive, allowing the Raiders to start their first possession at the Panthers’ 25-yard line.
Michael Carter eventually pushed his way into the end zone from 4 yards out as Navarre took a 7-0 lead with 7:48 left in the opening quarter.
Dante Wright’s 25-yard field goal extended the advantage to 10-0 and Sam Register caught his first career varsity TD pass with 5:51 left in the half. Adamson hit Register in stride on a 30-yard throw for a 17-0 lead.
Adamson then scored on a 14-yard run set up by a fake hand-off before connecting with Dante Wright on a wide-open throw in the closing seconds of the first half. Wright caught the pass and then cut to his right to get around the lone defender to beat to cap the 37-yard scoring play and give Navarre a 30-0 lead at halftime.
Jordan Williams also caught a TD pass, grabbing a 19-yard TD reception with 8:05 left in the third that made the score 37-0.
“We have playmakers everywhere,” Adamson said. “I have no doubt those guys will make plays.”
The Raiders step out of district play next Friday as they host American Heritage out of Delray Beach for their Homecoming game.
Inside a jubilant locker room after the game, Walls talked to his players about staying focused and continuing their drive to be the best Navarre team in school history.
Staying focused isn’t the easiest thing to do, not when a showdown for the district title looms in two weeks against rival Gulf Breeze, which is in the midst of its best season in school history. The Dolphins are 7-1 overall and 2-0 in the district after rolling over Pace 55-28.
“It’s hard not to look ahead. It’s always fun to play the Breeze,” Adamson said. “But we just have to stay focused on this week and get ready for the next game on our schedule.”