Escambia High Gators: Escambia High Gators: 10 - Navarre: 13

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  Navarre 13      
Game Played 10/23/2009 7:30PM  

Navarre defense shuts down Escambia
Jason Blakeney • • October 24, 2009

The Navarre defense allowed only 37 rushing yards and kept the Escambia offense out of the end zone to down the Gators 13-10 at Emmitt Smith Field on Friday night.

The Raiders' offense struggled to find a rhythm, and the defense did just enough to earn Navarre the win.

"We played great defense," Navarre coach Chad Lashley said. "We did a good job of taking away the run and making them try to beat us throwing the football. When we did that, we made them keep the ball in front of us and played hard every snap. I'm real proud of these kids."

Escambia coach Jimmy Nichols said the Raiders stout defense forced the Gators to change their game plan early in the contest.

"We would have liked to run the football," Nichols said. "But we couldn't block'em. So we had to drop back a pass a little more. It was a very poor performance by us tonight. Very poor. I'm very disappointed. I thought we'd play much better."

Joe Grimsley finished the game 99 receiving yards for the Gators.

Escambia's Mark Webster returned a Navarre fumble 82 yards for a touchdown with 2:57 remaining the third period to take a 10-7 lead.

The Navarre offense answered immediately. The Raiders put together a six-play, 60-yard drive that ended with Dwayne Carter finding the end zone from five yards out for the go-ahead touchdown.

The defense took things from there. Escambia never threatened on its final three drives, amassing only 20 total offensive yards.

The Raiders, who earned their first win against Walton last week, fell behind in the first half when Escambia kicker Tim Brown connected on a 31-yard field goal attempt with 6:34 remaining in the first quarter.

After trading defensive stops for the next six possessions, the Raiders found a way to score.

Navarre embarked on a 15-play, 70-yard drive that ended when Andrew Velazquez found Gene Robinson in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown.

Robinson ran a fade route on fourth-and-six and went up over a pair of defenders in the back of the end zone. The senior pulled the ball in and got his feet down just inside the chalk before falling out of the back of the end zone.

Velazquez finished the game 21 of 29 for 158 yards and the touchdown. But most importantly, the senior didn't throw an interception.

"He's gotten a lot better the last three weeks," Lashley said. "He's improved every week since the second half against Crestview and through the past couple of weeks. He's doing a good job. When things aren't there he's running around and making plays, but he's protecting the football at the same."

Nichols said despite a poor offensive performance, he was pleased with his defense.

"I was real proud of them," Nichols said. "Without them it could have been a rout."

Navarre running back Michael Pettus finished the game with 75 rushing yards, 69 of those coming in the second half.

"Sometimes you have to win ugly," Lashley said. "I don't know if we could have done that three weeks ago."

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