The view from the press box

If things were normal, Navarre’s spring football game would have been played tonight at Milton.

It would have been the culmination of three weeks of hard work that would have served the Raiders well in their quest to prepare for the 2020 season.

But the COVID-19 pandemic took away spring football. And so tonight in Milton, the stadium will be silent.

The Raiders won’t come running onto the field before the game. Fans won’t get a chance to cheer on their team against the Panthers.

Still, even with no spring, there is hope a season will happen in the fall.

And if it does, Navarre is poised for a special season because of the experience it will have coming back.

It has an experienced offensive line that might just be the biggest in school history and a running game that will be led by Jaden Rivera, who came on as strong as anyone over the final weeks of 2019. Not to mention a cast of talented young receivers and an incoming quarterback from North Carolina in Jaden Jones.

The defense brings back three of its top four in terms of tackles, including Colorado State verbal commit Grady Kelly, and it has the benefit of a coaching staff that understands what it takes to be successful.

A spring game would have given fans a chance to catch a glimpse of that potential. That will now have to wait until the fall because on this spring night in May, the stadiums are silent across Florida.

Prime Time

Dante Wright played the first college game of his career in an NFL stadium when Colorado State battled Colorado at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

The former Raider will get another chance to showcase his skills in an NFL venue this fall. The Rams travel to Las Vegas in October to play UNLV at Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the team formerly known as the Oakland Raiders.

That game is scheduled for a Friday night (Oct. 23) in Las Vegas.

Wright had a remarkable freshman campaign at CSU, earning All-American honors. There’s no reason to think he won’t build off that this season.

Argos are reloading

National champions in NCAA Division II a year ago, the University of West Florida football team picked up a nice addition to its roster in Mercer wide receiver David Durden.

Durden is 6-foot-2, 195 pounds and caught 45 passes for 647 yards and four touchdowns last season. A year earlier as a freshman, Durden was named an FSC All-American after averaging 22.6 yards per catch for the Bears.

This guy is quite the athlete. Not only can he play football, but he was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB draft. He hit .220 and drove in nine runs in 30 games in rookie ball that season.

In the News

If you haven’t picked up your copy of the Navarre Press yet, be sure to do so. There’s a feature on Raider hoops and track standout Hailey Neely. I also have my weekly column.

No Baseball, No Problem

Because of the pandemic, minor league baseball likely isn’t going to happen this season. The first three months of the season are already lost. That leaves just two months for a regular season. I think would be difficult to play at this point.

But give credit to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos for being creative during this time to keep revenue coming in and staff employed.

The team already offers opportunities to come out and have lunch and dinner in the ballpark. And now it’s added disc golf to the mix.

A nine-hole course designed by two-time Masters Champ Bubba Watson has been set up in the stadium. The cost is $5 per round of disc golf. Players can bring their own discs in or purchase a set of new ones for $25.

Sure, people would much rather be in the stadium watching baseball. But for the Blue Wahoos to be proactive during the pandemic rather than sit back and let the current normal take its toll says a lot about the franchise as a whole and its commitment to give fans something to do during this time.

On this Day in Sports History

On May 22, 1975, the Kentucky Colonels finished off the ABA championship series with a 110-105 win over the Indiana Pacers. Artis Gilmore was named the MVP of the postseason. Gilmore scored 28 points and grabbed 31 rebounds in the finale in front of 16,622 fans.

On this date in 1985, Pete Rose passes Hank Aaron as the run scoring leader in National League history with his 2,108th run.

On this date in 1990, Deion Sanders is involved in a dispute with Carlton Fisk because Sanders chooses not to run out a popup in the third running. Fisk scolded him for not doing it. They later got into it over comments Sanders made to Fisk.

And on this date in 1994, the Toronto Raptors unveil their nickname and logo. The Raptors won the NBA championship last season.

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