Raiders survive crucial road test against Eagles

Tested often Friday night, Navarre’s football team found a way to survive against Pine Forest in an intense non-district showdown at Lon Wise Stadium.

The Raiders came up with a huge stop on fourth down in the final quarter before Sage Chambers ran five yards on a hard-nosed touchdown run with a little over two minutes remaining in the game to put the exclamation point on a 27-14 victory over the Eagles on a muggy night in Pensacola.

The win was the 14th consecutive on the road for the seventh-ranked Raiders, who are now 4-0.

“Our team played outstanding,” Navarre head coach Jay Walls said. “We had our moments and they had theirs, but we got points when we needed them. We got them when it counted.”

Navarre needed only a handful of seconds to put points on the board. Chambers launched a 65-yard pass to Dante Wright, who caught the ball in stride to put the Raiders in front 7-0 with 8:27 left in the opening quarter. The score came on the first play of the Raiders’ drive and was one of three touchdown passes Chambers threw to Wright, who snagged a 12-yard pass late in the second to give the Raiders a 14-0 advantage.

Pine Forest (2-1) cut the lead to 14-7 before halftime thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown but Wright’s 27-yard catch stretched the Navarre lead to 21-7 early in the third.

Navarre led 21-14 going into the fourth and the defense stopped the Eagles inside the red zone with just under 11 minutes to play when the Eagles went for it on fourth down. They came up just shy of a first down.

“It was fourth and I forget the distance,” Walls said. “We ended up getting the stop by like a foot. It was a big play.”

Navarre will now head home for two consecutive games, starting with a District 2-6A opener against Pace next Friday night at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.

Winners of 25 of their last 26 regular-season games, the Raiders are aiming to win their first district championship since 2015.

For now, they will savor this victory against an Eagles team that gave them all they could handle.

“Pine Forest is an outstanding team, the best team we have faced so far,” Walls said. “It’s a big win. We’ll celebrate it and then get back to work Monday.”

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