Chalk Friday night’s 42-0 home loss to Navarre up as a learning experience for a young Washington High football team.
There were few positives for the Wildcats under the lights at Sherman Robinson Stadium. The Cats were looking to bounce back after a heart-breaking overtime loss the week before.
Although head coach Charlie Ward didn’t see a strong effort against a tough Raider squad, he said his team will learn from its mistakes and be ready next time out.
“We didn’t give up, but we didn’t give the best effort,” said Ward, in his second year at the helm. “From an offensive standpoint and defensive standpoint, we really didn’t handle ourselves well early on, and it got out of hand real quick. We knew coming in they were good, but we weren’t able to match the intensity they brought. Our kids will learn from this — it’s a great experience for them.”
Navarre scored early, aided by an interception by Sage Chambers at the Cats’ 34. The Raiders gained 17 yards on the next two plays, then moved even closer to paydirt on an encroachment penalty. Michael Carter then ran in a touchdown from 12 yards out, and Brady Hammel notched the PAT to make it 7-0 with 9:36 left in the first.
The Raiders never looked back after that.
Washington was successful on a fake punt on its ensuing drive, but eventually punted later, and Navarre quickly got things going again.
After a short gain by Carter, he took a swing pass from Chambers down the left sidelines all the way for a 56-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a two-score lead.
Both defenses held strong the next two possessions, before Navarre set up at Washington’s 35-yard line following a punt.
A heavy dose of Carter put the ball at the Navarre 17. On 2nd-and-3, Carter was hit hard on the sidelines and fumbled the ball, but the ball was ruled down. Carter stayed on the ground following the play, then was helped to a golf cart minutes later with an apparent knee or leg injury.
But the Raider offense didn’t miss a beat.
Hasaan Williams ran down to the three before Aaron Mitchell plunged in for a 1-yard score to make it 21-0 with 6:34 left in the first half.
After Navarre stymied Washington’s offense again, Caine Adamson found Williams for a 39-yard touchdown. Adamson capped off the half’s scoring with a swing pass under pressure to Williams, who took it in from 15-yards out with :07 second left in the second.
With a running clock in the second half, Williams made the only score in the last two periods a big one as he ran straight up the middle for 79 yards with about 9:35 left in the game.
“The effort of our defense from the start to the finish was really good,” Navarre coach Jay Walls said. “I thought we played physical, and really got after it and got the shutout. That was special for us. The running game was good for us tonight. I think momentum early was a big key.”