The long trek to the small community of Higdon, where North Sand Mountain High School sits, never seemed that far.

Driving up Highway 71 always feels like pure Sand Mountain, especially this time of the year.

When I think of North Sand Mountain football, I remember that 1998 season when the Bison won eight games for the first time ever. I remember Shawn Peek and quarterback Matt Sullivan

A year later, Peek was gone and Sullivan and most of his bunch, too.

It’s been 20 years since Eddie Kirby literally saved the football program. Keith Kirby can remember that. He was a senior on that 1999 team that almost wasn’t.

Today, Keith leads a football program that, through the past few years, has been Jackson County’s most successful.

Friday night, the Bison play in the first ever quarterfinal game with a chance to win 10 games in a season for the first time ever.

The Bison get something most teams very rarely do: a second chance, and opportunity to avenge.

It was in early September when North Sand Mountain traveled to Collinsville. That night, it didn’t go well as the Panthers ran up and down the field to a 54-28 win.

There’s an old football saying: it’s hard to beat a team twice in the same season.

Friday night quarterback Landon Green and his bunch get a chance to make school history. You can’t ask for much more than that. It was a bad night in Collinsville in early September. Now, they get a do-over.

Regardless, it’s still something special. But, you know we can’t help it, just dreaming a little deeper: North Sand Mountain playing in the semifinals, in football, the day after Thanksgiving.

That’s the ultimate.

DeWayne Patterson is the editor and publisher of the Sentinel. He can be reached by email at

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