Tina Atkins/For the Times Red Boiling Springs senior quarterback Hunter Kirk (15) attempts to elude a Gordonsville defender. Kirk rushed for 140 yards on 19 carries in Friday night's 44-14 loss to visiting Gordonsville.

Tina Atkins/For the Times

Red Boiling Springs senior quarterback Hunter Kirk (15) attempts to elude a Gordonsville defender. Kirk rushed for 140 yards on 19 carries in Friday night's 44-14 loss to visiting Gordonsville.

Going into Friday night's game against the visiting Gordonsville High School football squad, Red Boiling Springs head coach Matt Swoner knew that his squad had an uphill battle against the reigning Region 4-1A champion.

The Tigers, considered a traditional Class 1A power, have reached the playoffs in 23 out of the past 25 years and captured state titles in 1984 and 2012.

First-year head coach Scott Clemons had his team ready to play as they took control with its ground game early on and cruised to a 44-14 win against the Bulldogs.

"We know what Gordonsville is all about," Swoner told his team. "We can't go into the game intimidated. We just need to be physical."

After the Bulldogs were unable to convert a first down in the opening series, the Tigers put together a 10-play 55-yard drive by putting the ball into the hands of senior running back Braxton Givens.

Givens, who last week became the school's all-time leading rusher with more than 4,500 yards, rushed five times for 67 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive, overcoming two penalties in the process.

The Tigers faked the point-after touchdown (PAT) kick but were unable to convert. Gordonsville (2-1 overall, 1-0 in Region 4-1A) struck again after Skyshn Washer broke through for a 66-yard scamper to the Bulldog 4 yard line to end the first quarter.

Quarterback Taylor Thaxton took it into the end zone himself for the touchdown.

Givens ran the ball in on the two-point conversion, and the Tigers took a 14-0 lead.

On the ensuing possession the Bulldogs seemed to be putting together a drive of their own by picking up three first downs, but a fumbled handoff on a special counter play resulted in a lost fumble and Tiger possession on the 50 yard line.

"We let the air out of the balloon on that play," Swoner said. "I take responsibility for that one. We took a chance, and we fumbled it."

Thaxton hit Washer for what seemed to be a 50-yard strike, but the ball would be brought back to the 36-yard line after a penalty for a block in the back. That duo connected again for another touchdown, but it also was called back to the 40 yard line on the same call.

From there, Givens had a 40-yard touchdown on his final carry of the night.

A Levi Haliburton PAT increased the Tiger lead 21-0.

The Tigers struck once more when Thaxton hit receiver Adam Brinkley for a 45-yard touchdown.

Haliburton hit the PAT, and the Tigers went into the locker room with a 28-0 lead at the halftime.

The Bulldogs received a boost when senior Spencer Harp recovered a Tiger fumble on their own 30 yard line.

Four plays later, senior quarterback Hunter Kirk found an opening on the left edge and ran 63 yards for the touchdown. Sophomore Michael Mathews hit the PAT to cut the lead to 28-7.

However, the Bulldogs (0-3, 0-2) didn't celebrate long, because Treyson Davis took the ensuing kickoff from his own 20 yard line and returned it 50 yards into Bulldog territory. Four plays later, Washer broke open for 22 of his 102 yards on the night and a touchdown.

Thaxton kept it himself for the two-point conversion, extending the lead to 36-7.

The Bulldogs' final score of the night took came late in the fourth quarter when they drove the 62 yards, converting three first downs in the process. Kirk rushed four times for 42 yards on the drive, but it was the junior fullback Dalton Thompson who took it in for the 10-yard score with 4:20 left in the game.

"I'm putting my head down, and I'm trying to see the hole to hit it," Thompson said.

Mathews followed with the successful PAT.

Thompson touched the ball 17 times for 70 yards.

"After last week (in a 36-14 loss to visiting Clay County), when we saw he only had six touches in the game, we were going to find ways to get him the ball more," Swoner said of Thompson.

Gordonsville tacked on eight more points after a Bulldog onside kick was unsuccessful.

Gordonsville outgained Red Boiling Springs in rushing 291-210 and had 102 passing yards as well. Givens rushed for 107 yards on six carries.

Kirk had his second consecutive 100-plus night, with 140 yards on 19 carries.

RBS wasn't penalized on Friday after being flagged 12 times for 106 yards in the previous contest with Clay County.

"I've talked about it some this week," Swoner said. " I brought it up Monday and brought it up before the game. Penalties hurt, and we couldn't afford, heading into a game with a team like Gordonsville, to play behind the sticks."

The Bulldogs played without senior two-way starter Kendall Thompson, who was sidelined on Friday due to a concussion.

Red Boiling Springs travels to Jackson County on Friday, which is also looking for its first win of the season after dropping a home game to Westmoreland last Friday by a 27-6 score. The Blue Devils - who have been outscored by a combined margin of 104-14 over their first three games - will be celebrating homecoming.

The Bulldogs have had a difficult time defeating Jackson County, losing every contest between the two programs over the last 15 years (including a 17-0 setback last season).

"(Jackson County head) coach Sean Loftis does a great job at Jackson County," said Swoner. "We are going to have to be disciplined. It is going to be a tough game. We just need to compete."