No one showed up at Bennett C. Russell Stadium on Friday night expecting to see Matthew Webb playing quarterback for Navarre High.
But that's what the overflow crowd got for the rivalry game against Gulf Breeze, and the sophomore delivered in a major way for the Raiders.
Subbing for injured starter Andrew Rieves, Webb completed 9-of-16 passes for 180 yards and two long touchdown passes to Gatlin Casey as Navarre posted a 28-14 win to keep the Beach Bowl Cup for the sixth straight year.
Better yet, the win was the eighth in a row for Navarre, keeping its dream District 2-6A championship season rolling right into next week's state playoff opener back at its home field against Pace.
It wasn't always pretty, but the kid with the flowing blonde locks went home with a memorable first varsity start.
"I came in with a lot of pressure on me, but I was able to pull through with the help of my teammates," Webb said. "But, really, that was the biggest game of my life."
Rallying for a 7-7 tie at halftime when Webb found Casey on a 68-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, Navarre took the lead for good three plays into the third quarter when another pass play between the two went 55 yards for a score on a deep crossing route.
Webb hooked up with Casey three times in the game for 145 yards and the two crucial scores.
"He's got a great arm," Casey said. "You saw it. He did really good for the situation he was in for his first start."
After the big pass play to start the second half, Navarre (9-1) put the game away on the legs of Johnny Robinson-Pettus.
Pettus made the score 21-7 with an electric 82-yard scoring run at the 5:25 mark of the third quarter and made it 28-7 with 5:34 to play on a 1-yard run.
The differences between the first and second halves for Navarre were dramatic.
In the opening two quarters, the Raiders turned the ball over four times, including three consecutive possessions that ended on fumbles. The second set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Austin Dermody that gave Gulf Breeze (7-3) a 7-0 lead at 5:16 of the first quarter.
A clean second half, however, led to Navarre pulling away for the win. Even more impressive was the Raiders did it minus Rieves and star receiver Jordan Leggett, who was held out while addressing a possible concussion suffered last week against Mosley.
"When you have a close game like that, and you have adversity and you fight through it and come out with a win, your kids believe," Navarre coach Jay Walls said. "I'm proud of our kids for what they did tonight. Every week they've found a way to get it done and tonight was no different."
The Dolphins were short-handed, too, with running back Chandler Foxworth and center Jeb Bowles out with injuries.
Gulf Breeze managed just one big play -- a late 77-yard TD pass from Gray Dorsey to Xan Sarra -- and was held to just 173 yards of offense in the game. Take away the Sarra scoring catch and the Dolphins ran 50 plays for 96 yards.
"We haven't tasted defeat for a few weeks, but they have a tough defense and they made things difficult for us," said Gulf Breeze coach Chris Nemith. "But our kids have resolve. We'll go back and look at everything and get ready for the playoffs. There's a lot more for this team to play for, that's for sure."
Both teams open the state playoffs with regional semifinals next week. Gulf Breeze travels to Crawfordville Wakulla, the top-ranked team in Class 5A, while Navarre hosts Pace in a Class 6A showdown that's a rematch of the Raiders' 19-13 win in Week 3.
"I'll tell you what, if we make mistakes like that against Pace, we'll be in trouble," Walls said. "But we're excited about the opportunity. It's the playoffs, it's a new season and it's wide open. We're just ready to play, to be honest with you."
Gulf Breeze...7 0 0 7--14
Navarre...0 7 14 7--21
GB -- Austin Dermody 1 run (Lucas Zalar kick), 5:16.
N -- Gatlin Casey 68 pass from Matthew Webb (Chandler Moorer kick), 4:57.
N -- Casey 55 pass from Webb (Moorer kick), 10:31.
N -- Johnny Robinson-Pettus 82 run (Moorer kick).
N -- Robinson-Pettus 1 run (Moorer kick), 5:34.
GB -- Xan Sarra 77 pass from Gray Dorsey (Zalar kick), 2:55.