Raiders not skipping a beat

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Jay Phillips

Marlon Courtney #1, returning, rising senior quarterback and his offensive line (photo by Jay Phillips)

Navarre welcomed Milton to Bennett C. Russell stadium last Friday and beat the Panthers 10-0 in the varsity-only half of the game.

Navarre’s first team offense started the game and faced a third-and-eight on their first possession. Marlon Courtney, a rising senior quarterback for the Raiders, dropped back and was just as quickly dropped for a sack, resulting in a Navarre punt.

Courtney improved his pocket presence from there on out, evading multiple sacks and making big plays on the run.

Navarre returned the favor of a defense stop on Milton’s first possession. Navarre held Milton to a 3rd-and-34. and then Gabe Davis intercepted the Panthers’ 3rd down attempt. That would be the first of many big plays for Davis.

“We did a good job against the run,” head coach Jay Walls said. “The first half went well. Our defense had a shutout. Overall I think we had a very good spring.”

Navarre moved the ball about 30 yards down the field, and then Preston Penton kicked a 40 yard field goal to score the first points of the night.

Navarre’s first and only touchdown of the night came a few possessions later, and it capped off another balanced drive for the Raiders.

After Courtney moved the ball into the red zone, Navarre dialed up a halfback slip screen that beat Milton’s pressure and allowed Davis to juke his way into the end zone from about 15 yards out.

Davis offers Navarre a unique look at running back, and Navarre will look to have a strong running game with a group filled with new and returning faces.

Navarre will have the options of Jebari Mitchell and Ky Dennis from last season’s junior varsity team, in addition to returning rising senior Jaydin Antonio.

Xayvion Thomas and Davis have both spent time at running back, a different position from where they were seen last season, and both look productive in their new roles on both sides of the ball.

“We really feel like we have the ability to have a good running game,” Walls said. “It’s certainly something to build on. We always want to be balanced when we run and throw the football.”

Moving the ball against Milton is no easy task, especially on the ground, as the Panthers have Marquis Robinson playing defensive tackle.

Robinson is listed at 6-foot 3-inches and 290 pounds, and already holds offers from the likes of Ohio State, Auburn and Alabama.

Robinson was as disruptive as he could be, but Navarre found ways to move the ball past him, even if it meant committing two or three blockers to him at a time.

The score reset at halftime with both teams beginning to mix in more of their junior varsity units.

The third quarter remained a 0-0 deadlock, but Milton did find the end zone in the fourth quarter after score had stopped being kept.

Milton’s junior varsity and second unit was able to move the ball inside of Navarre’s five yard line, but the hardnosed Navarre defense—led by the Raiders’ defensive line—was able to hold Milton to a fourth-and-goal situation.

However, Milton drew up the perfect naked-bootleg and the Panthers were able to score their first points of the night.

With the conclusion of the spring game, Navarre fans will have to wait until August to see their football team back in action. Navarre will start the regular season off against rival Gulf Breeze on August 23.