The cover of the game program proclaims the season theme with Navarre High’s football team.
The Raiders are playing with that kind of purpose.
Navarre raced to a 30-0 halftime lead, triggered a running clock after scoring on the first series in the second half, then cruised without a bump in a 44-0 victory Friday night against Milton at the Raiders’ Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
It’s now 7-0 with a rising arrow as Navarre eyes a finish that includes rivalry games with surging Gulf Breeze in two weeks and neighboring power Niceville in the season finale.
“We have three games left and we talked to our kids about finishing strong. and that’s what we want to do,” said Navarre coach Jay Walls. “We just want to focus on our next game (vs. Delray-American Heritage). I thought we’ve had a really good start. We are undefeated.
“Now, how are we going to finish? It’s what I will tell the kids… we won this week, how are we going to finish?”
Success has been a consistent pattern at Navarre, which replaces graduating seniors with a next wave of players that continue to chase district championships.
“All our teams have really been committed and worked really hard,” Walls said. “Like I tell them, this game (last night) is why you went to work in January and February.This bunch has been great as far as their commitment.”
A fumble early in the second quarter was all that prevented Navarre from scoring points each time it had the ball in the first half. The Raiders did not punt until late in the fourth quarter.
It made for a long night for Milton (2-7), which has struggled in recent weeks to get an offense going and create some momentum.
Last night, a high snap on a first-possession punt gave Navarre a short field and the Raiders quickly cashed in with Michael Carter’s 3-yard run to cap a 25-yard drive.
While Carter was his usual self with plays on delayed handoffs, sweeps and his pass-catching, sophomore receiver Dante Wright became the star of the game. He caught a touchdown pass, ran for a touchdown, kicked a field goal and converted all but one extra point.
Oh yeah, and he helps out of defense, too.
“He is just a 10th grader,” said Walls, repeating for the extra significance. “And he has been a surprise. We knew last year on the freshman team he was a great player and we felt he could contribute (on varsity). He has done a great job this year. He plays offense, he plays defense, and kicks for us. He had a big night.”
So did Navarre’s defense, of course, pitching a shutout and rarely yielding a first down. About the only negative element was several personal foul penalties that extended Milton possessions.
“The kids played really well in all three phases,” Walls said. “We knew this was a big game. Certainly in district play, I thought the race is wide open. We had a good week and came out and played well.
“We were able to run the football ,throw the football. We got some breaks and came up some big plays. I was just proud of the effort by our kids all week long. I thought they prepared really well and and came out played really hard.”
Senior quarterback Caine Adamson threw three touchdown passes, ran for another.
“He had a really good night,” Walls said. “I thought our O-line did a great job. Caine had a lot of time. He was able to throw. I thought on the line of scrimmage we did a great job protecting the quarterback. That’s where it all started.”
That’s part of the reason Navarre has started 7-0.
At Navarre High
Bennett C Russell Stadium
NAVARRE 44, MILTON 0
Milton — 0–0–0–0—0
Navarre — 10–20–14–0—44
NAVARRE –– Michael Carter 3 yard run, (Dante Wright kick), 7:48
NAVARRE –– Dante Wright 26-yard field goal, 4:01
NAVARRE — Sam Register 30 yard pass from Caine Adamson (Wright kick), 5:57
NAVARRE — Caine Adamson 14 yard run (Kick failed), 1:46
NAVARRE –– Dante Wright 37 yard pass from Caine Adamson (Wright kick) 0:2.2
NAVARRE — Jordan Williams 19 yard pass from Caine Adamson (Wright kick), 8:47
NAVARRE — Dante Wright 57 yard run (Wright kick), 1:18.