By Wes Mayberry/For The Daily Sentinel
Friday was homecoming night for the North Sand Mountain Bison, and the visiting West End Patriots proved no match for home team in a Class 2A Region 7 matchup.
The Patriots entered Friday night winless on the season and left Higdon the same way after falling to the Bison, 41-14.
The win improved the Bison to 5-1 on the season while dropping the Patriots to 0-6.
After receiving the opening kickoff, the Bison completed a seven-play scoring drive highlighted by a 26-yard run by quarterback Cody McBryar and capped by a four-yard touchdown run from Dexx Walsh with 9:21 left in the quarter that put NSM up 7-0 following a Derek Alonzo extra point.
On the ensuing Patriot drive, quarterback Caegan Epperson ran the ball for 33 yards that took the WEHS offense to the NSM 44-yard line.
A delay of game and holding penalty on the next two plays stalled the offense for a bit, but the Patriots continued to drive down the field and converted on a fourth-and-one play in NSM territory.
Following this conversion, NSM head coach Adam Gilbert called a timeout to focus his defensive unit.
After the timeout, the Patriots continued to drive to reach first and goal at the NSM 7-yard line, but Epperson’s pass was intercepted by Ean Miles, giving the ball back to the Bison.
NSM went up by two scores after Jordan Harmon finished the ensuing drive with an 18-yard touchdown run with 2:05 remaining in the opening quarter. A two-point conversion rush attempt by Walsh failed, but NSM still led 13-0 at the end of the first 12 minutes.
McBryar then completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Miles and ran for a two-point conversion to give his team a 21-0 lead with 10:23 left in the half, and he later followed that up with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Austin Cummins. An Alonzo extra point gave NSM a 28-0 lead with 6:12 left until the half.
NSM continued to pile on the points in the third quarter. Following a three-and-out by the Patriot offense, the Bison put together a 10-play scoring drive capped by a 10-yard pass from McBryar to Cummins for the duo’s second touchdown connection of the night.
On the first play of the ensuing Patriot drive, Epperson botched the snap, giving the ball right back to NSM at the WEHS 17-yard line. Backup quarterback Eric George ran the ball for eight yards on the first play of the NSM drive and scored on the next play with a nine-yard run up the middle that gave the home team a 41-0 advantage with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
West End finally got on the scoreboard when Epperson ran down the right side of the field for an 80-yard touchdown on the very next play.
The Patriots capped the scoring with a nine-yard touchdown run by Epperson with 8:51 to go in the game that was followed by a two-point conversion pass from Hunter Grant to Connor Bailey to make the score 41-14.
Epperson rushed for a game-high 249 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.
West End hosts Section next week.