The North Sand Mountain football program closes the regular season against a team led by one of its alums.
NSM travels to Sylvania to take on a Rams team coached by Tyler Vann, a former all-state honorable mention quarterback for the Bison.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on Friday at Sylvania High School.
It’s the 32nd all-time meeting between the Bison and Rams. Sylvania leads the all-time series 21-10. This is the 10th straight season the teams have played in the regular season, and NSM has won five of the previous nine meetings. The Bison defeated Sylvania 25-19 in double overtime last season.
NSM (4-5) enters the matchup having won two straight games, including a 29-14 road win at Falkville last Friday that gave the Bison the final playoff berth from Class 2A Region 7.
Head coach Keith Kirby said the Bison want to “continue this momentum in this game and carry it on into the playoffs next week.”
The Bison also improved to 4-0 on the road with last week’s victory. NSM had two players, Mason Smith and Hank Farmer, rush for more than 100 yards in a game this season during last week’s Falkville win, while freshman quarterback Landon Williams, making his fourth start, had another efficient performance.
Kirby said NSM had its “best two weeks of practice” prior to their last two games. “We’ve practiced really well and carried it over to Friday night. We need that to happen this week because we’re facing a really good team.”
Meanwhile, Sylvania is 7-2 in Vann’s first season at the helm. The Rams enter the week in a three-way tie for the top-spot in Class 3A Region 7. Sylvania needs a Scottsboro win over Fyffe Thursday and then a win over NSM on Friday to have a shot at the region title.
Vann, who coached Woodville to a 5-6 record and a playoff berth last season, said the transition to Sylvania has gone well.
“The kids have bought in to the culture we’re establishing,” Vann said. “The kids are playing hard every Friday night. “I love how they love football here.”
Vann will try to improve to 1-1 against his alma mater, having lost his first matchup with the Bison last season while at Woodville.
“I’ve got a couple of assistants on our staff that went to Plainview. The week we played Plainview I joked with them about them not coming to meetings and practice cause I didn’t want them calling Plainview and telling them what we were going to do. We’ll, the role is flipped this week and they’ve been telling me that,” Vann said with a laugh.
“It’s exciting to play (NSM). They’ve got a good football team. It’s going to be a good matchup.”
Kirby said Sylvania plays “fast and physical on both sides. Offensively they can run and throw, defensively they’re pursuing the football. They beat a 5A team (East Limestone) last week. They’re playing really well. They’re going to be a big challenge.”