One team is coming off one of its biggest wins in recent memory.
The other is trying to complete a sweep of its rivals.
And both want to build positive momentum entering the playoffs.
Welcome to the latest chapter of the Pisgah-North Sand Mountain football rivalry.
“It’s going to be a four-quarter war, always is,” said NSM head coach Keith Kirby, whose been apart of the rivalry for NSM as a player, assistant coach and head coach. “This is a series that you get the best from both teams.”
The 48th edition of NSM vs. Pisgah takes place Friday night at 7 p.m. at Lloyd Dobbins Field in Higdon.
Pisgah holds a 33-14 advantage in the series, which has been played annually since 1975. NSM, however, won last year’s meeting 34-8.
NSM (7-2) is trying to finish 4-0 against its rivals this season. The Bison already have wins over Dade County (Georgia), Ider and Section, and would like nothing more than to add Pisgah to that list.
“It’s big game every year,” Kirby said. “Hopefully we can get it.”
Pisgah (4-5) is coming off a playoff-clinching 18-17 win over Plainview that ended a 24-game losing streak in the series.
Pisgah head coach Luke Pruitt said the Eagles enjoyed the victory but hasn’t let it linger into its preparation for NSM.
“We talked [Monday] about enjoying [that win], but we’ve got to get ready for NSM. They’re a really good football team, Coach Kirby and his guys do really good job with them. They’ve got a lot of offensive weapons. The quarterback [Landon Green] is real impressive. They’re good [defensively]. Our guys know it’s a challenge. They came out Monday and had a really good practice.”
The game also holds some playoff significance for Pisgah. The Eagles are locked as a playoff participant, but could be Class 3A Region 7’s No. 3 or No. 4 seed. Pisgah will be the No. 3 seed and play at Midfield in the opening round of the Class 3A Playoffs with a win over NSM or a Sylvania loss to Class 2A No. 1-ranked Fyffe. If Sylvania upsets Fyffe and Pisgah loses, Pisgah will be the No. 4 seed and play at Fultondale in the opening round.
Meanwhile, NSM is hoping to gear up for its Class 2A first-round matchup at Ranburne next week with a strong showing against the Eagles.
“It’s going to be a good test,” Kirby said. “[Pisgah has] one of the better defensive lines we’ve faced. We’ve got to focus up front, be able to block it up and protect [the quarterback].”