All season, the Navarre Raiders have put their defense to the test against some of the best running games around.
And every week, without fail, the Raiders have passed the test.
Tonight at Bennett C. Russell Stadium comes possibly their biggest of the season as the Lake City Columbia Tigers -- ranked No. 5 in the Class 6A state poll to end the regular season -- bring their explosive running game to town for the Region 1-6A championship game.
The Tigers (11-1) enter the game averaging an astounding 275 yards per game on the ground, most of that coming behind 5-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
The 6-6, 295-pound Tunsil is ranked as the No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in the country by rivals.com and also garners a No. 2 overall prospect ranking in the state of Florida.
"They are a strong offense with their running attack," Navarre coach Jay Walls said. "That's going to be a test for us, but again, our defense has done well against the run, so I feel good about the matchup."
It's definitely a matchup worth seeing, as the Raiders (11-1) are giving up only an average of 116 yards on the ground per game.
And those numbers have come against some pretty ground-heavy teams. The Raiders twice beat Pace, who averaged 257.1 yards on the ground.
The Raiders also fared well against Gulf Breeze (219.5 yards per game), Niceville (260 yards per game) and Crestview (275 yards per game).
Of those teams, Walls said Columbia most resembles the Patriots, with a few wrinkles.
"They're more multiple in their formations than Pace, but it is a lot of downhill running," Walls said. "It's a lot of just three yards and a cloud of dust. They have big play ability, though."
The Tigers' feature back is Ronald Timmons, who has rushed for 1,551 yards on 181 carries. The Tigers' Lonnie Underwood is second on the team with 718 yards, but he got poked in the eye last week and is expected to be limited this week.
Taking his place will be Braxton Stockton, whose 673 yards rushing show off the depth of the Columbia backfield.
"I think our defense likes (playing teams that like to run)," Navarre defensive end Jonathan Shaw said. "We like hitting people in the mouth and playing tough. We like playing against the run."
The Raiders will counter with a pretty good running game of their own, led by tailback Jay Warren. Warren has rushed for 1,538 yards and 15 touchdowns, while Johnny Robinson-Pettus has added 458 yards and six TDs.
Quarterback Andrew Rieves has been a steady threat to run and throw with 1,704 combined yards and 17 touchdowns. Jordan Leggett has been Rieves' favorite weapon with 50 catches for 854 yards and seven TDs.
The Raiders are making their second trip to the region finals in three years. Two years ago, Navarre traveled to Talahassee and lost to eventual state champion Lincoln in triple overtime.
The experience of playing in that game could prove to be an advantage for the Raiders tonight against Columbia.
"That hurt, coming up one point short against a team like that," Robinson-Pettus said. "You take that feeling and bring it over to this season and we're hungry, and we will work to make sure we don't feel that hurt again."