North Sand Mountain head football coach Keith Kirby is glad his team’s first-round playoff game at Addison doesn’t include a pick-up basketball game at halftime.
“They’re the tallest team I’ve ever seen,” Kirby said. “They’ve got 6-(foot)-3, 6-4 guys in the secondary, 6-1, 6-2 guys at linebacker. Got big tall receivers. I’ve never seen a team this tall.”
Addison, Kirby said, is also good at football. The No. 9-ranked Bulldogs are the No. 2-seed from Class 2A Region 7 while NSM’s the No. 3-seed from Region 8.
They face off for the first time Friday night in Addison in a Class 2A first-round playoff game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.
The NSM-Addison winner plays the Aliceville-Westbrook Christian winner in the second round. If it advances, NSM would host a second-round game regardless of who it plays.
Both teams enter the playoffs playing well of late. NSM (7-3) has won four of its last five, the lone loss coming at top-ranked Fyffe. Meanwhile, Addison (8-2) enters the matchup riding a six-game winning streak. The Bulldogs’ losses were to ranked foes Class 3A No. 5-ranked Piedmont 28-16 and No. 4-ranked and region foe Red Bay 16-10.
“Real good football team, run a lot of different formations, and will run, run and run and then take their shot (in the passing game),” Kirby said of Addison. “They’re pretty strong on defense. They’re just solid. They have a good tradition. We’ll have some opportunities to make plays. It’ll come down to can we protect the quarterback and run the ball enough to keep them honest.”
While NSM is averaging 36.3 points per game and allowing 23.9, Addison is averaging 31.4 points per game and allowing 11.4.
The Bulldogs’ top offensive weapons are quarterback Grant Rice, running backs Weston Smith and Caleb Crider and receiver Luke Chambers. Rice had six touchdowns — three rushing, two passing and one on a kickoff return — in Addison’s 43-0 win over Hatton in its regular-season finale on Oct. 24.
For NSM, which is making its county-long fifth straight playoff appearance, there is an urgency to advance.
“We haven’t been able to get over that playoff hurdle (in the first round),” Kirby said. “We’ve got to get over it.”