The North Sand Mountain and Addison football programs had never crossed paths until the 2019 season.
But they’re about to play an important game for a second straight season. After meeting in the first round of the 2019 Class 2A playoffs, the teams square off again in a 2020 second-round matchup with a trip to the 2A state quarterfinals on the line.
No. 6-ranked NSM (10-1) hosts Addison (7-4) Friday at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Dobbins Field in Higdon. Because of COVID-19 precautions, the Alabama High School Athletic Association has limited attendance to 33 percent of stadium capacity and all tickets must be purchased online on the GoFan App.
It’s a rematch of NSM’s 20-13 win at Addison last season, a win that started the Bison’s run to the state quarterfinals for the first time in program history.
“They’ve got a lot (of players) back, so I’m sure (revenge) is (a motivating factor) for them,” said NSM head coach Keith Kirby said. “But that’s something we can’t worry about. We’ve got to worry about blocking and tackling and trying to advance to the next round.”
The NSM-Addison winner plays the No. 4 Spring Garden-No. 5 Red Bay winner in the quarterfinals on Nov. 20. If it advances, NSM would travel regardless of the opponent.
To advance, Kirby said NSM needs a sharper offensive performance than it put forward in last week’s 19-0 first-round win over Southeastern.
“The last few games we’ve driven 20 (-yard line) to 20 but stall out,” Kirby said. “We’ve got to find ways to punch it in. Can’t have the silly penalties we’ve been having. Got to get it straightened out.”
Addison, which averages 30 points per game while allowing 18.5, enters the second-round matchup with NSM after defeating Colbert County 22-15 in Round 1. The Bulldogs, who were the runner-up in Class 2A Region 5, also have wins over Lynn 50-0, Midfield 33-8, Winston County 22-6, Cold Springs 50-14, Lamar County 42-27 and Sulligent 49-0. Their losses were to 2A Region 5 champion Aliceville 36-34 in overtime and 4A teams Haleyville 28-6, Good Hope 49-15 and Hamilton 21-7.
The Bulldogs went from a spread formation to a power run-oriented formation last week against Colbert County that included some successful shots in the passing game, Kirby said, allowing Addison to control the football for most of the game. Addison quarterback Christian Roberts, a first-year starter at the position, completed 4-of-7 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 71 yards on 14 carries in last week’s win. Nelson Martin ran for 75 yards and a score of 17 carries while Tommy Daniel was had three catches for 118 yards.
“They played keep away with it, just 3- and 4-yarded (Colbert County) to death,” Kirby said. “Our defense has got to get stops.”
NSM will try to improve to 8-0 at home this season. The Bison have won 14 straight home games dating back to a loss to Fyffe in 2018.
“It’s been mentioned,” Kirby said. “We take pride in playing here and defending our home field. We’re playing a real good football team here (this week). We’ve got bring our ‘A’ game if we want to keep playing.”