NAVARRE – It was a dominant effort from start to finish Friday night as the Navarre Raiders improved to 2-0 on the young season with a thorough 34-0 win over the Pace Patriots at Bennett C. Russell Stadium.
The Raiders got another big night from Marlon Courtney as he threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns in pacing a Navarre offense that rolled up 431 yards of total offense.
Navarre led 13-0 at the end of the first quarter and extended that lead to 27-0 at the half before going ahead 34-0 on the opening possession of the third quarter.
The rest of the way it was a defensive stalemate as neither team could find the end zone.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 1.82
That's the yards per carry by the Pace Patriots; an astonishing stat considering the Patriots propensity for running the football. In fact, late in the third quarter, Pace had negative rushing yardage before quarterback Brandon Miller broke loose for a 14-yard run to put them into the positive. Pace finished with only 80 yards on 44 carries.
“They run the football well, so doing that was outstanding by our front – D-line and linebackers,” Navarre coach Jay Walls said. “They had a great plan, coach (Garret) Bagley and our defensive staff did a great job this week. All the misdirections Pace runs, they really do a good job of running the football. To do what we did was an outstanding job.”
OFFENSIVE MVP: Jaydin Antonio, Navarre tailback
On a night which saw eight different Raiders carry the football and four of those gain over 30 yards, it was Antonio who led the way with his 88 yards and two scores on 12 carries.
Antonio would have gone over the 100-yard mark and had a third touchdown if not for a holding penalty called at the line of scrimmage on what would have been a 67-yard touchdown run.
“I thought he ran hard tonight,” Walls said. “He’s been steady like that since he was a sophomore.”
DEFENSIVE MVP: Grady Kelly, Navarre defensive lineman
The junior standout was pretty much unblockable Friday night as he spent the night in the Pace backfield, recording four sacks and a couple more tackles for loss.
“Honestly, it was great leadership out there on the field,” Kelly said. “We came out there with great effort and intensity that we really haven’t come out with this season.
“The sacks are a bonus but the real win was the shutout.”
“I was proud of the shutout,” Walls said. “Offensively we did some good things, running and throwing. We mixed it up a little bit more tonight and I liked what I saw.
“We talked to our guys all week long about winning the line of scrimmage, you know stopping their run and controlling the line of scrimmage offensively and being able to run the ball and I think we did that tonight.”
The Raiders continue their tour through Santa Rosa County foes when they travel to Milton to take on the Panthers.
It will be the Raiders’ last non-district game before traveling to take on Tallahassee Lincoln in Week 4.
Navarre Raiders fans may have been thrown for a loop during the pregame warmups when Raiders quarterback Marlon Courtney wasn’t in his customary No. 1 jersey.
Prior to going out on the field, Courtney misplaced his jersey in the locker room and had to use the No. 7 jersey for the game.
It didn’t affect his output on the field, as Courtney finished with 228 yards total offense.
“I don’t know where I put it,” Courtney said. “It’s somewhere in the building, I know that much.”
One would have a hard time blaming Courtney for his forgetfulness at the time, as the senior signal-caller woke up this morning feeling ill.
“I woke up with a 103-degree fever,” Courtney said. “I spent the day in the bathroom, I just did not feel good at all. I had a migraine, it was bad.”
But Courtney never let the notion of not playing Friday night enter into the equation.
“No way, I wasn’t going to tell coach the morning of the game that I couldn’t go,” Courtney said. “I feel better now. I have a little headache, but not as bad as earlier. Once I got into the game, I felt fine.”
Now there’s just that task of finding his No. 1 jersey.
“Yeah, I need to go find that now,” Courtney said. “Gotta get back my No. 1 for next week.”