Navarre High School’s 2012 football season begins in earnest Friday, when the 2-1 Raiders visit the 2-1 Eagles of Niceville High in the first District 2-6A game for both teams.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Eagles Stadium.
Both teams won in dramatic fashion last week: Navarre cornerback Nick Benton stymied Pace’s last-gasp drive with an interception at the Raiders’ goal line to preserve a 19-13 victory over the 10th-ranked Patriots and kicker Andrew Mitchell booted a 50-yard field goal at the buzzer to give Niceville a 17-14 win against Pine Forest in a battle of Eagles.
Last year, running back Dwayne Carter powered the Raiders to a 56-33 rout of Niceville – the eventual district champions – with more than 300 yards and six touchdowns rushing. Carter graduated and now plays for Independence Community College in Kansas, but first-year coach Jay Walls has developed a productive rotation with seniors Benton, Jay Warren and Johnny Robinson-Pettus and junior Marcus Mayes. Walls’ scheme also gives slot backs Jordan Leggett, a senior who has committed verbally to play for Clemson University in South Carolina, and junior Gatlin Casey, who scored what proved to be the Raiders’ winning touchdown against Pace on an 8-yard run.
Warren and senior middle linebacker Devin Colonel missed the Pace game with nagging injuries, but Walls said both should play against the Eagles.
“Both guys are 100 percent,” Walls said in a report published earlier this week. “We held them out on purpose. We wanted them to be 100 percent (for district play).”
Niceville relies heavily on sophomore sensation Shi Kim Coward, who’s averaging 157 rushing yards per game despite sitting out the first half against Pine Forest with an injury. The 5-foot, 9-inch, 175-pound Coward – who reportedly runs 40 yards in 4.55 seconds – entered the scoreless game in the third quarter and finished with 137 yards and both of the Eagles’ touchdowns.
Five of six District 2-6A have won two of their first three games; Choctawhatchee is winless in three starts. The Dolphins of Mosley – A. Crawford Mosley High School in Lynn Haven – will play Fort Walton Beach in the only other district contest. Choctawhatchee’s Big Green Indians will host Tishomingo County, Miss., and Crestview will travel to Pensacola to play District 1-3A powerhouse Catholic.
The game will be broadcast online at www.thenewfishradio.com and on Freedom 94.3 FM and AM 1400 in Okaloosa County.
Team W-L W-L
Crestview 0-0 2-1
Fort Walton Beach 0-0 2-1
Mosley 0-0 2-1
Navarre 0-0 2-1
Niceville 0-0 2-1
Choctawhatchee 0-0 0-3
Week 3 Results
Navarre 19, Pace 13
Niceville 17, Pine Forest 14
Milton 24, Fort Walton Beach 17
Mosley 42, Arnold 14
Bolles 20, Crestview 14
Washington 19, Choctaw 17
Navarre at Niceville, 7 p.m.
Mosley at Fort Walton Beach, 7 p.m.
Tishomingo County (Miss.) at Choctaw, 7
Crestview at Catholic, 7:30 p.m.