Craig Harris/Macon County Times Red Boiling Springs senior Zac Swank attempts to catch a pass in front of a Goodpasture defensive back during 7-on-7 action last Thursday afternoon.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Red Boiling Springs senior Zac Swank attempts to catch a pass in front of a Goodpasture defensive back during 7-on-7 action last Thursday afternoon.

GAINESBORO -- The Macon County High and Red Boiling Springs High football programs never compete against each other.

However, the neighboring schools did clash in a modified contest last Thursday.

The Tigers didn't have many of their varsity players in attendance as the rest of the team was competing in Murfreesboro, at the Riverdale Warriors 7-on-7 Challenge.

The Bulldogs got the best of the younger Macon County players, scoring two touchdowns while limiting the Tigers to one score.

It was one of four contests for each team in competition that took place at Jackson County High School.

"I'm very encouraged," RBS second-year head coach Matt Swoner said. "This time last year, it was two coaches -- me and coach (Derek) Meador, and we go to 7-on-7 at Barren County (Kentucky), and I take 10 kids. Today, we have four coaches and 15-16 kids. There's improvement there.

"The overall demeanor of this football team is miles and miles ahead of where we were last year."

The Bulldogs also competed against two White County squads -- with the Warriors splitting their team into two units after York Institute dropped out of the 10-team competition one night earlier -- and concluded the day with a shortened clash against Goodpasture.

"A lot of teams can get a look in practice," Swoner said. "We are so limited number-wise that we can't get that in practice. We get those looks here.

"Defensively, we still need to be breaking on the football. That's things we see out here. That's where it's beneficial to us."

Swoner was impressed with the play of his linebackers, a group consisting of seniors Walker Reynolds and Dalton Thompson along with junior Devin Justice. Thompson intercepted two passes against Macon County, with senior Matthew Murphy and junior Dylan Templeton intercepting passes as well.

"Our entire linebacking crew ... we have two seniors and a junior there," Swoner said. "The way they break on the football, their demeanor and leading the defense ... that stands out.

"We are going from a 50 (a defensive front consisting of five linemen and two linebackers) to a 40 (four linemen and three linebackers) this year. Having Dalton, Devin and Walker right there together, we expect that to stand out, and it did."

Macon County freshman quarterback Hayden Wix completed a 20-yard pass to classmate Nate Green on the first play of its competition against RBS, but the Tigers didn't have any more success on their opening, 10-play series.

Macon County utilized three freshman quarterbacks -- Wix, Braydee Brooks and Dalton Kendall.

"Normally, when you go to a passing tournament, the young guys get maybe one or two series," Tiger assistant coach Coty Jett said. "They are getting to play four straight games here against a lot of ones (starting units). It's good for these guys. They get to learn. They get to jell with each other.

"Quarterbacks can get some realistic reads. Receivers can slowly learn the ins and outs, the small details. Defensively, they are learning to line up and what to look out for."

The Tigers intercepted two passes on the Bulldogs' first 10-play series, with junior Jaedon Finley and freshman Devin Amalfitano coming up with interceptions.

However, Reynolds -- who is expected to be the starting quarterback -- completed five passes to senior fullback Dalton Thompson and another to junior Michael Mathews. One of the completions to Thompson resulted in a 3-yard touchdown.

"We have a ton of confidence in Walker," Swoner said. "He's a leader. He's a very intelligent football player. He's a great kid. He's someone we can depend on week in and week out who can lead this offense in the direction it needs to be."

Macon County freshman Dalton Kendall was the quarterback for the final two series, and he completed back-to-back passes to Green, setting up a 12-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Wix in the end zone.

"You hope that they take something home with them and that they can use it tomorrow, the next practice and in future passing competitions," Jett -- whose squad also competed against Uppeman, Jackson County and one of the White County squads -- said. "We saw a lot of great things, but obviously, there's a lot of work to be done with this bunch."

On the final series for RBS, eighth-grade quarterback Aubrey Link completed two passes to Thompson and another to senior Zac Swank, setting up a 1-yard touchdown pass to Thompson.

"It's big," Swoner said. "You want the kids to have that competitive edge. Being here and getting that competitive edge ... we want to take that to practice and continue to get better."