The No. 10-ranked Ranburne had a good defensive plan against North Sand Mountain — keep the football away from the Bison.
The Bulldogs dominated time of possession en route to a 32-24 Class 2A high school football first-round playoff victory Friday night at Harlan Robinson Stadium in Ranburne.
NSM finished its season with an 8-3 record while Ranburne (9-2) advanced to play at Addison in the second round. NSM was the No. 3 seed from Region 8 while Ranburne was the No. 2 seed from Region 6.
It was the first meeting between the teams.
The Bison had only four second-half possessions, but did make the game interesting with two late scores, the last one pulling them within 32-24 with 24 seconds left. But Ranburne’s Christian Smith recovered NSM’s ensuing onside kick, allowing the Bulldogs to run out the clock with a kneel down from quarterback Josh Ralston.
The 24-point output was NSM’s second lowest of the season. The Bison entered the postseason after averaging a school-record 39.8 points during the regular season.
NSM punted on its opening possession, but Ranburne fumbled on its first play from scrimmage and Cade McBryar recovered for the Bison. But NSM turned it over on downs before forcing a Ranburne punt and then taking a 6-0 lead on Hill’s 53-yard touchdown run.
Smith countered with touchdown runs of 4 and 53 yards to put Ranburne in front 13-6 midway through the second quarter. NSM pulled within 13-12 with 4:20 left until halftime when Landon Green found Austin Hill from 14 yards out, but the try for the two-point conversion failed.
Ranburne then opened the third quarter with an 11-play drive that ended with Gunner Hollis’ 1-yard touchdown for a 20-12 lead. After NSM went three-and-out, the Bulldogs used an eight-play drive culminating in Jake Burson’s touchdown run for a 26-12 lead. Ranburne added a 1-yard touchdown run from Ralston for a 32-12 advantage early in the fourth quarter.
NSM countered with Green’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Zac Boston with 8:22 remaining to cut the deficit to 32-18. Ranburne ran more than six minutes off the clock on its next drive, which ended on downs. NSM took over with 1:41 remaining and pulled to within 32-24 on Green’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Hill.
Green, a junior, was 16-of-28 passing for 199 yards and three touchdowns for the Bison. Hill, a senior, caught six passes for 90 yards while Boston, also a senior, caught six for 65.