Some teams wear down as a season rolls on. Navarre seems to keep getting better.
Long hours in the unforgiving summer heat of Florida were spent building up strength and endurance, the Raiders pushing themselves to the point where their bodies might have been screaming for a break but their minds told them the great teams never stop working hard.
That hard work has paid off, particularly in the last three games when Navarre has outscored opponents 131-39.
The Raiders haven’t given up a point in nine of the last 11 quarters they have played and they have kept three consecutive opponents off the scoreboard in the second half.
“We train so hard in the summer,” said senior defensive back Lee Jones. “When the game gets into the fourth (quarter), teams are ready to quit but we have another gear.”
That gear Jones mentions will need to go to another level Friday night when the Raiders, the reigning District 2-6A champions, battle bitter rival Gulf Breeze for the Beach Bowl trophy and a district title in a 7:30 p.m. showdown at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
Navarre (8-0, 2-0) has owned the rivalry for nearly a decade, winning the last nine meetings, including last year by a 47-7 count. But the Dolphins (7-1, 2-0) are no pushover this year and are in the midst of arguably their best season in school history.
If you are looking for everything a late-season showdown should be, this is it.
“It’s a rivalry game,” senior running back Michael Carter said. “We are going for the 10-peat. It really doesn’t get any bigger than this. We’re coming out with a fire. It’s war.”
“The district championship, the Beach Bowl, senior night…Everything is on this game,” Jones said. “We’re excited and we’re looking to go 9-0.”
Read more in the Oct. 27 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.