Jonah Pennington and NSM travel to play Sylvania in a non-region game Friday night.

While most teams ended the first half of region play last week, North Sand Mountain head coach Keith Kirby described it differently for his team.

“We survived it,” Kirby said.

NSM scored a touchdown with 1:01 remaining to edge Sand Rock 12-7 and improve to 2-1 in Class 2A Region 8 play. Kirby was glad to win but said the Bison have worked to do.

“We’ve got to focus on NSM and get NSM to be better,” Kirby said. “We just need to put together a complete performance. The first couple of weeks I didn’t think we played like we needed to on defense. Then our defense was great (against Sand Rock) but we didn’t do anything on offense. We’ve got to put it all together. We feel like that is out there for us.”

Kirby is hopeful those complete games begin this week when NSM (3-1) travels to play Class 3A Sylvania (3-1) in a non-region matchup. Kickoff is set for Friday at 7 p.m. at Sylvania High School.

It’s the 30th all-time meeting between the teams in a series that Sylvania leads 20-9. NSM, however, has the recent edge in the series, winning four of the last six meetings. The Bison won last year’s clash in Higdon 44-15.

Kirby said Friday’s game would test his team.

“Sylvania’s got an all-around good football team,” he said. “They’re playing well in that 3A region, scoring points, playing good defense.”

Kirby said the Rams’ offense has the ability to hurt teams both rushing and passing wise and is solid on the line of scrimmage. Other than begin held to seven points in a Class 3A Region 7 loss to Susan Moore, the Rams put up 21 points in a win over Class 5A Sardis, 52 against 2A Gaston and 27 last week in a shutout victory over archrival and region foe Plainview. Meanwhile, the Rams defense has held two opponents scoreless and is allowing 8.25 points per game.

“They’re a solid football team,” Kirby said. “It’s going to take a good effort. We’ve got to win some one-on-one battles up front, and really, win some one-on-one battles all over the field. We haven’t played our best game yet. Hopefully we will.”

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