Scott Burton/For the Times Red Boiling Springs junior Dylen Templeton had a 13-yard touchdown run in Friday evening’s 44-14 loss at Jo Byrns.

Scott Burton/For the Times

Red Boiling Springs junior Dylen Templeton had a 13-yard touchdown run in Friday evening’s 44-14 loss at Jo Byrns.

CEDAR HILL -- The Red Boiling Springs High football squad entered Friday night's game looking to find some answers to its early-season struggles. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs left with a few more questions and a 44-14 loss to Jo Byrns in a battle of previously-winless squads.

"We have to play harder, and I'm still looking for that same football team that we had at our first scrimmage, play with that intensity, because we've not been the same since," RBS head coach Matt Swoner said. "We are going to try to get them Monday, just stay positive, work them hard and just get them ready for Oakdale on Friday."

RBS played without senior running back/linebacker Walker Reynolds, who suffered a concussion the previous week (in a 48-12 loss at Jackson County).

The Red Devils received the opening kick and went straight to work. Establishing the line of scrimmage early, they gashed the Bulldogs defense on eight consecutive runs and ate up nearly half of the opening quarter, capping the drive with a 7-yard touchdown dash off the left side by running back Jake Chennault.

Bobby Ogg's point-after touchdown (PAT) attempt sailed wide.

Red Boiling Springs took over at the 35 after the kickoff went out of bounds, and proceeded to test the Red Devils' front. The Bulldogs running game could not get past the first level which put them into a third-and-long, a situation that would plague them the remainder of the first half.

"We didn't play with the intensity that we needed to play with," Swoner said. "We couldn't get a push up front. We lost that battle up front, and you know, it starts and ends up front. We need to play better up there and play more intense."

On third down, Bulldog quarterback Aubrey Link threw to junior Bishop Moore on a slant route, but the pass was high and passed through Moore's hands and into the awaiting arms of Jo Byrns' speedster D.J. Johnson, who returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.

With Ogg's PAT, Jo Byrns led 13-0.

The Bulldogs' next possession started in good field position after senior Zach Swank took the return to the Bulldog 34 yard line.

Once again, the Red Devil line proved troublesome, and after a quick Link pass put them in a fourth-and-4 situation, Swoner -- in trying to keep the drive alive -- made the decision to go for it at the Bulldog 42. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs succumbed to the Red Devil push and turned the ball over on downs.

Jo Byrns (1-4 overall, 1-1 in Region 4-1A) decided to assert themselves offensively, primarily with Chennault, who finished with 64 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. On second-and-goal at the Bulldog 3 yard line, Chennault took it around the left side for the touchdown.

Ryan Dowlen's improvised conversion run on a low PAT snap put the Red Devils up 21-0 with 1:29 left in the opening quarter.

After another RBS three-and-out, the ensuing punt backed up the Red Devils to their own 23 yard line. The Bulldog defense stiffened against the run, and the Red Devils resorted to the passing game. On third down, Dowlen found Emmanuel Barbee in the seam behind the linebackers, and Barbee outraced everyone for a 74-yard score. The successful PAT created a 28-point margin.

Dowlen added another touchdown pass, this time to Johnson, later in the half.

The Bulldogs' inability to get anything going on offense put a strain on the defense as they could not get a consistent drive mounted nor get the ball across midfield in the first half. A promising drive come to a halt on the Red Devils' second interception near midfield that Chennault returned down to the Bulldog 17 yard line with less than two minutes remaining.

That drive ended with a 35-yard field goal by Ogg and a halftime score of 38-0.

After receiving the kickoff, the Bulldogs unfortunately started their opening possession of the second half the same way they started their opening possession of the game, with a pick-six. Link's pass in the right flat was read by Ogg, who returned it 24 yards for the score.

The extra point was unsuccessful, keeping the score at 44-0.

The Bulldogs (0-4, 0-2) went to work the next possession, with Swank returning the kickoff out to their own 40 yard line.

The Bulldog offensive line opened run lanes for junior running back Dylen Templeton, who gashed the Red Devil's defense for 51 yards on the drive.

On second-and-3 at the Red Devil 13 yard line, Templeton took the pitch and swept around the right end for a touchdown.

"We did do a few good things," Swoner said of the second half. "We wanted to get something positive going. After starting so rough in the first half, we wanted to come out and establish a few things, and we were able to. But we still need to get better, and we have to get better up front."

The Red Boiling Springs defense limited Jo Byrns to three plays on its next possession, getting the ball back at its own 24 yard line midway through the fourth quarter.

Again, Templeton began to find room to run, breaking tackles on a 26-yard run that put the Bulldogs at the Red Devil 42 yard line. A carry by junior Devin Justice was followed up by a 24-yard pass from Link to senior tight end Dalton Thompson that set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Thompson.

The two-point conversion was successful, accounting for the final points.

RBS travels to Oakdale on Friday for a non-region contest. Both teams will enter the contest winless.