SIDELINE OBSERVATIONS: Raiders surprise, Bulldogs disappoint

Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 at 04:22 PM.

The Navarre football team will host Gainesville on Friday in the Class 6A semifinals.

To say what the Raiders have accomplished under first-year coach Jay Walls is impressive is an understatement. Navarre was expected to have a solid team coming into the season, but I doubt if even the most optimistic Raider fans saw them still playing the first Friday in December.

Maybe Navarre didn’t come out of nowhere to win the District 2-6A title, but most people thought the Raiders were, at best, the third best team in the district behind Crestview and Niceville. Some people might have even had the Raiders as the third best team in Santa Rosa County behind Milton and Pace.

Yes, Navarre made it to the Class 4A region finals in 2010, and the Raiders had some good football players including tight end Jordan Leggett, a Clemson commit, but no other Raiders are listed on any recruiting site as having college offers right now.

If someone had told me before the season started that a team from District 2-6A would be in the state semifinals, my money would have been on Crestview.

Crestview coach Kevin Pettis had never gone back-to-back years without taking a team the playoffs in his career, and it seemed making the playoffs was almost a foregone conclusion with a roster full of Division I athletes.

Maybe the Bulldogs weren’t as big up front on the offensive line as they were in 2011, but the line was more athletic. And, led by senior tailback Micah Reed, they seemed to have more skill players than they did last year.

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