Craig Harris/Macon County Times Red Boiling Springs junior Dylan Templeton attempts to cut back past the pursuit of Cannon County senior Brady Cunningham.

Craig Harris/Macon County Times

Red Boiling Springs junior Dylan Templeton attempts to cut back past the pursuit of Cannon County senior Brady Cunningham.

RED BOILING SPRINGS -- The Red Boiling Springs High football team didn't fare well the last time it faced Cannon County.

The Bulldogs suffered a 47-6 loss to the Lions in last season's season opener.

RBS was hoping for a much more competitive contest when the two teams met in a scrimmage on Friday evening, and the Bulldogs were successful in accomplishing that.

"We had a running clock (in the second half of last year's game due to the 35-point, mercy rule)," RBS head coach Matt Swoner said. "They have two or three times more players. They're a lot bigger. They're more athletic, but we were still able to do what we were supposed to do for the most part."

The Lions won four games last season, equaling the program's win total over the previous five seasons combined, and were a win away from earning a playoff berth out of Region 4-3A. However, those victories were vacated due to Cannon County having used an ineligible player.

"You put that team in our region, and they probably make the playoffs," Swoner said. "We didn't win (on Friday), but we competed. It would have been a fourth-quarter game that we were in. We didn't do that last year."

The two teams alternated 10-play series for the first six possessions. Then, later on, the two teams played a 15-minute quarter -- consisting of a continuously-running clock -- to conclude the scrimmage. During that competition, the Lions outscored the Bulldogs by a 3-1 margin in touchdowns.

"We came out and played well," Swoner said. "We hung around. We played well. We held our own.

"We competed with them. We had letdowns here and there, but we were competitive. We played a series of running clock, down and distance, and we tied them."

RBS struggled to run the football effectively for much of the scrimmage but had some success throwing the football.

"We have some experience on the outside (of the offensive line, at tackle)," Swoner said. "You have a freshman and two sophomores on the interior part of the line. We just have to come along.

"They are undersized. This is the best thing for us (playing quality competition in the preseason)."

On the team's opening 10-play series, Bulldog senior Walker Reynolds -- who is transitioning to quarterback after playing tight end last season -- completed passes of 19 and 13 yards to senior fullback Dalton Thompson, and then, on the final play, Bishop Moore made a leaping catch along the left sideline for a 25-yard gain.

Cannon County scored on the ninth play of its opening series, with sophomore Brendan Reed taking a reverse handoff and speeding 16 yards to set up senior Brady Cunningham's 4-yard touchdown run.

On the visitors' second possession, RBS junior Dylan Templeton tipped a pass by Cannon County senior quarterback Jamal Barrett into the air and caught it as it descended for an interception.

However, the Lions scored on their ninth play again, with Barrett ripping off a 15-yard touchdown run.

On the Bulldogs' third series, Reynolds again connected with Thompson over the middle, resulting in a 50-yard gain.

"There were a few mistakes, but Walker threw the ball well," Swoner said.

However, RBS couldn't punch it into the end zone, with Templeton being forced out of bounds at the 4 yard line on the final play.

Then, the two teams alternated short series from the opponent's 10 yard line for four possessions.

On the first of those series, following a penalty, Thompson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Reynolds, and two plays later, Reynolds ripped off a 10-yard touchdown run.

Cannon County didn't score on its first series from the 10 yard line but produced three touchdowns on its second series, with juniors Connor Tucker and Edward Robinson carrying the football into the end zone before Barrett passed to senior Wade Love for a touchdown.

Then, the two teams concluded the scrimmage by playing a 15-minute quarter consisting of a continuously-running clock.

On the first play, Reynolds was intercepted by Lion sophomore Dallas Roller, who returned it 29 yards.

That set up Cunningham's 8-yard touchdown run two plays later.

Reed intercepted a Bulldog pass on the ensuing series, but then, RBS forced a turnover on downs.

On the next play, Templeton ripped off a 30-yard run, following by Reynolds' quick pass to Thompson two plays later. Thompson sliced through the middle of the Lion defense for a 20-yard touchdown to end the scrimmage.

"We had a few blow-ups," Swoner said of the defensive effort. "I got on to my safeties a bit after the fact.

"But we were able to make them mess up. They had a lot more penalties. We made them work for what they got. Outside of a couple of big plays, we made them work for what they had."

RBS will host Community for another scrimmage on Friday evening before the Bulldogs play in the Industrial Bowl on Aug. 16 at Macon County High's Pat Parker Memorial Field, facing the Hendersonville High freshman team at 5:30 p.m.