The North Sand Mountain football team enjoyed an 8-3 season a year ago.
But of those three losses, the one that hurt the most was a Week 2 overtime setback to Collinsville. The Class 2A Region 8 defeat cost the Bison the opportunity to play a first-round playoff game at home. Instead, NSM traveled to Ranburne and fell 32-24. Now with the rematch looming, the Bison are hoping to learn from the past.
“It’s been talked about since January,” said NSM head coach Keith Kirby. “(The players) understand the possible implications of this game and what they can be based on the result.”
NSM and No. 6-ranked Collinsville square off Friday at 7 p.m. at Collinsville High School’s Hawkins Field.
It’s just the fifth all-time meeting between the teams in a series that is tied 2-2. Last year’s game was the first between the teams in 29 years.
Both teams are undefeated entering the rematch.
Collinsville (2-0) opened its season with a 50-6 win over Plainview in Week 0 and followed that with a 47-14 win over Crossville in Week 1.
The Panthers, who went 10-2 a year ago, return nine starters on each side of the football. Collinsville’s top player is quarterback Kaleb Jones, a senior who holds a scholarship off from Navy.
“He’s a great player, can make plays running and throwing,” Kirby said. “I don’t really think they’ve turned him loose yet. They’ve got a lot of good playmakers.”
NSM (1-0) is coming off a 28-26 win over Dade County (Georgia). The Bison trailed 14-0 in the first half before stopping Dade County’s last-second game-tying two-point conversation attempt.
Kirby was pleased with quarterback Landon Green’s play last week. Injured in an ATV accident before the season started, Green’s first live action of the fall came in the season opener. He finished 11-of-15 passing for 159 yards and two touchdowns, ran for a score and escaped a sack to convert a key fourth down, a play that Kirby said was “one of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Kirby was glad to see the team “show some resolve” in the comeback win.
“You don’t want to find yourself in that situation, but it was good to see us respond like that.”
Kirby said the Bison must play better than last week to leave Collinsville with a victory.
“It’s going to take a solid effort,” he said. “(Collinsville is) a dang good football team. No weak links, senior heavy. The mistakes we made last week, we can’t make them. The execution, the lack of it last week, we can’t have that. If we don’t (fix the mistakes), it’s going to be a long night.”