Not a lot of high school football teams voluntarily play the Fyffe Red Devils.
But one that did this season was North Sand Mountain, a team that has had an up close view of those last two Fyffe state champion teams.
NSM head coach Keith Kirby, whose team is off to the best start in school history, says playing the Red Devils will benefit his team.
“If you want to get to their level, you’ve got to see how you stack up,” Kirby said. “It will be a really good test for us to see where we are. This is going to help us.”
The Class 2A No. 7-ranked Bison step out of region play this week to take on 3A No. 1-ranked Fyffe Thursday at 7 p.m. at Paul Benefield Stadium in Fyffe. The game was originally scheduled for Friday but was moved to Thursday because of the threat of inclement weather on Friday.
It’s the 24th all-time meeting in a series Fyffe leads 20-3. The Red Devils have won the last 13 meetings — NSM’s last win over Fyffe was in 1998 — including a 62-14 victory last season.
The 2020 Red Devils returned nearly intact from last season, the lone exception being quarterback Zach Pyron transferring to Pinson Valley.
Fyffe has won 36 straight games, including the last two Class 2A state championships. Since the start of the 2016 season, the Red Devils are 63-1 with three state titles and have won four state titles since the 2014 campaign. Fyffe, who is playing in Class 3A for the first time, defeated previously unbeaten Plainview 42-12 last week.
“They look like Fyffe,” Kirby said. “They play the game the way it’s supposed to be play. They block like you’re supposed to. They tackle like you’re supposed to. They’re solid on special teams. They don’t turn the ball over. They don’t get very many penalties. That all equates to being very good.”
Kirby said NSM must match Fyffe’s sharp play in order to have a chance at knocking off the Red Devils.
“We’ve got to play good, sound football,” Kirby said. “We can’t make the mistakes we made against them (last year). We had a bunch of turnovers, gave them short fields and they took advantage like you know Fyffe will. We weren’t mentally ready for that game last year. We’ve got to come ready to play.”