There seem to be very few roles Navarre sophomore Dante Wright cannot fill for the Raiders — who are 7-0 and in the midst of a 19-game regular season win streak.
If you’ve tuned in for a Navarre game this year, you’ve seen Wright have an impact in each contest this season, in every phase of the game.
“First of all, Wright is a great athlete but an even better kid,” Navarre coach Jay Walls said. “He’s making plays for us on offense, defense and in the kicking game. Our playmakers gotta make plays, our role players gotta understand their roles and get them done and there’s gotta be some big-time surprises.
“Wright is not so much of a surprise because we knew he could do it. But he’s contributing in a big way and as a 10th grader — that’s huge.”
Wright has generated 74 points (38 through PATs, 36 off touchdowns) for the Raiders this year.
He’s found most off his yardage as a receiver, hauling in 19 catches for 331 yards and two TDs.
Wright has found the endzone four times as a rusher, accented by his 11.4 yards-per-carry (206 total yards).
He’s even shown the ability to sling it, as Wright connected for a 53-yard passing touchdown as the Raiders dialed up a trick play in their win over Pace.
Defensively, Wright has stayed true his assignments and came away with one interception against Washington.
As a kicker, Wright has drained 32-of-37 PATs and hit 2-of-5 FGs.
Raiders face state power in ‘one-game contract’
A gap in his team’s schedule for Oct. 21 had Navarre coach Jay Walls scrambling everywhere to find an opponent.
There were no takers until Delray Beach-American Heritage, a Class 3A school located just north of Boca Raton near West Palm Beach, agreed to travel to Navarre for Friday’s game. It’s also Navarre’s homecoming game. It’s a one-game contract. Navarre is supplying a post-game meal for the team following the game.
“I called everybody from Louisiana to Georgia to South Florida trying to get a game and we ended up with them. And it just worked out that we had a one year deal with them,” Walls said. “I was surprised. I was really surprised. We don’t know anything about them. “
While the Stallions (1-5) have struggled this year after finishing as Class 3A state runner up last season, their schedule has included West Palm Beach-Cardinal Newman, Belle Glade-Glades Central and Miami-Northwestern, which are teams well-known in Florida prep football circles.
“We have three games left and I talked to the kids about finishing strong and that’s what we want to do,” Walls said. “We just want to focus on the next game. I told them, hey, we’re undefeated and how we are going to finish?”
Improbable season for Gulf Breeze has chance for memorable finish
Dating back to the preseason, no area team has created a bigger surprise than the Gulf Breeze Dolphins.
Sitting at 7-1, 2-0 in District 2-6A, the Dolphins can match their total wins from the previous three seasons combined with a win in one of their two remaining games.
But if they can win the most important one, and shock the area again, they can snatch the District 2-6A title from their arch rival the Navarre Raiders.
“It means a lot (being 7-1),” Dolphins wideout Cole Sheppard said. “The community has come out and supported us. We’ve worked really hard and it’s finally paying off. It’s good to see.”
Tristan Covell said: “It definitely feels great being 7-1. Last time I remember being 7-1, I was in middle school.”
Also this year, the Dolphins won their first district home game since 2013 and posted the program’s first 4-0 start before falling by nine points to West Florida and its tough, pass-pressuring defense in game five.
Now entering their bye in Week 9, the Dolphins have no intention of slowing down.
“I feel like I’m asked about hitting new (benchmarks) every week,” said QB Tyler Phelps, following a career-best performance with more than 400 passing yards last week. “Our success is a testament to coach Bobby Clayton and everything he’s done. It’s been huge and we are an excited team. We beat Pace, we haven’t beaten them in a long time … but now we are on to the next one.”
“The next one” happens to be the biggest game of the year (after a bye this Friday), as the Dolphins will hope to reverse an eight-year losing trend to Navarre in the Beach Bowl Cup — which this year, happens to be the district title game.
“We’ve got to clean some things up, we can’t give up big plays on defense,” Clayton said. “I mean, heck … in our next ball game, we’ve got to play (Navarre’s) Michael Carter — another great running back. We’ve got to figure out how to bottle him up like we did (Pace’s Anthony Johnson Jr.) and try to outscore them.”