Navarre begins a tortuous – and possibly torturous – stretch of games at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Pensacola High School’s Jim Scoggins Stadium.
The Raiders, who beat Washington 33-7 in the friendly confines of NHS’ Bennett C. Russell Stadium last week, play four straight games on the road against traditionally strong teams. Fortunately, only one – at Niceville on Sept. 21 – counts in the District 2-6A standings. Navarre is scheduled to play Santa Rosa County rival Pace next Friday and travel to Pensacola Catholic on Sept. 28.
Pensacola, which finished 9-3 in 2011, will be playing its first game of the season after Hurricane Isaac forced the Tigers to cancel its showdown with Tallahassee Lincoln.
“(Pensacola’s players) want to hit somebody else,” PHS coach Mike Bennett said in published reports. “They want to play against somebody else. They’re ready to play.”
The Tigers may not have game experience under their belts, but PHS brings plenty of confidence bred by years of success. The Tigers won the Class 3A state championship in 2009, advanced to the region championship in 2010 and made it to the region semifinal last year. Pensacola has been in the playoffs nine of the last 10 years and 10 times overall under head coach Mike Bennett.
Navarre is trying to return to the playoffs for just the fourth time in school history. The Raiders advanced to the region semifinal two years ago before losing to Lincoln. Navarre finished 5-5 in 2011.
The Raiders and Tigers combined for more than 700 yards of total offense in a 29-22 Pensacola win at Navarre last year.
Pensacola has five starters back on each side of the ball but, like Navarre, has new starters at quarterback and in the backfield. Players to watch include senior signal-caller Jonathan Bennett, senior running back/safety Blake Norwood and senior defensive end Deandre Farrington.
To get to Jim Scoggins Stadium, take U.S. Highway 98 into Pensacola, turn right onto Ninth Avenue; drive 0.4 miles then turn left onto East Cervantes Street. In just more than half a mile, turn right onto North Palafox Street and drive 0.9 miles. Turn left onto West Maxwell Street. Pensacola High School is less than a third of a mile west of Palafox on Maxwell Street.
Team W-L W-L
Crestview 0-0 1-0
Fort Walton Beach 0-0 1-0
Navarre 0-0 1-0
Niceville 0-0 1-0
Mosley 0-0 1-1
Choctawhatchee 0-0 0-1
Crestview 24, Milton 14
Fort Walton Beach 48, Freeport 14
Niceville 51, East Gadsden 17
Navarre 33, Washington 7
Pensacola Catholic 9, Choctawhatchee 7
Wakulla 44, Mosley 10
Mosley 59, West Gadsden 0
Navarre at Pensacola
Crestview at Escambia
Panama City-Rutherford at Milton
Fort Walton Beach at Tate
Pace at Niceville