A matchup of the area’s top two running backs was ultimately won by a quarterback and a couple trick plays.
Navarre quarterback Caine Adamson led the way on the ground as the Raiders continued their undefeated regular-season run with a 42-28 win at Pace on Friday night.
Adamson rushed 10 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns, as well as throwing for 105 yards and a score. Navarre (5-0) has now won 17 consecutive regular season games.
Pace’s Anthony Johnson Jr., who entered Friday’s game with the fourth most rushing yards in the state, carried the ball 30 times, grinding out 140 yards to go with all four Patriot touchdowns.
His opposite, Navarre’s Michael Carter, got off to a slightly slower start.
After breaking a 31-yard run on his first carry of the night, the UNC commit went backwards the rest of the half, finishing with just 19 rushing yards at the break.
“To be honest we came out flat,” Carter said. “But we trust each other. We have the ultimate team trust. No matter what, we know we’re going to pull back.”
Pull back they did, but not in the way Carter normally does it.
With less than a minute to go in the first half, Carter took a toss sweep and hit wide receiver Jordan Williams on a 63-yard touchdown pass to give the Raiders a 21-14 halftime lead.
“At that point, we felt like we wanted it more,” Carter said. “You should see our locker room at halftime. We’re probably one of the most chill teams around. No matter where we’re at, you can go back to Choctaw when we’re down 21-7, and we’re in the locker room telling jokes, but we’re focused.”
Carter finally broke loose on the Raiders’ second drive of the third quarter, eluding a tackler and breaking back across the field for a 54-yard touchdown run that gave Navarre a 14-point cushion. Carter finished with 92 rushing yards.
As the Patriots (3-3) continued to key on Navarre’s star running back, Adamson swept across their flanks, keeping on several long runs, including a 26-yard touchdown on a quarterback draw in the fourth quarter.
“That is a strength of ours, that he can run as well as he can throw,” Walls said. “A lot of teams are going to key on Mike. We’re not sneaking up on anybody with Mike. So it’s good to have a quarterback that can do some things like that. He had a good night.”
Pace was in no mood to drop its first district game as quarterback Damean Bivins and Johnson put together a long scoring drive midway through the fourth quarter to cut Navarre’s lead to 35-28.
Navarre scrapped any momentum Pace had on the following drive with another trick play, this time drawing up a jet sweep pass, which Dante Wright completed to Williams for a 53-yard touchdown.
“Fortunately we’ve been working on those all year long,” Walls said. “The kids came up with some big plays for us.”
Off to a good start in district play, the Raiders hit the road again next week when they travel to play the Escambia Gators (2-4), who are fresh off an impressive 35-0 win over Pine Forest (4-2).
“We have to go on the road again, but with a big district win on the road [tonight], you hope that helps our guys as far as knowing they’re in the hunt,” Walls said. “It’s wide open right now and I’ve said it from the get go, this district will be very competitive.”