Outside competition can make it easier to fine-tune your team.

Such was the case for Horseshoe Bend and Reeltown’s football squads Tuesday evening, when the two sides practiced together in an OTA. The Generals and Rebels went through drills, worked 7-on-7 then eventually came together for a full scrimmage against one another.

“We’ve been practicing all summer against each other, and it’s good to get out and practice against somebody else,” Horseshoe Bend head coach Jeremy Phillips said. “They threw some stuff at us we haven’t necessarily practiced on, so it gives us some talking points.”

For Phillips, the OTA represented an opportunity to season his young squad against a well-disciplined team.

The Horseshoe Bend head man has a lot of respect for the program head coach Matt Johnson runs at Reeltown.

“They’re well-coached, and I wanted our guys to go against some guys that are like that,” Phillips said. “Going into the season, we’re gonna play many teams that are well coached and disciplined. That’s what we were looking for.”

The Generals also took the opportunity to experiment with a healthy dose of different lineups, formations and plays to see what may work best on the offensive side of the ball.

In the two-hour runtime of the practice, Horseshoe Bend could be seen running a wishbone, Wing-T or spread offense at any given point.

“We’re gonna line up and we’re gonna run the ball,” Phillips said. “That’s just point blank. But at the same time, there comes a time during the game when you might need to spread it out or you might need to throw a different look at a team, and these are perfect opportunities to work on that, especially against a good defense.”

One of the biggest standouts from either side was Reeltown senior wide receiver Marcus Haynes, who seemed to be all over the field using his large frame to seal off defenders and make big plays. He hauled in multiple touchdown passes throughout 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 competition.

Phillips said the next step for Horseshoe Bend is to complete its July strength and conditioning program before starting legitimate practices in August.

“We’re gonna finish out summer workouts, we’ll run and lift,” Phillips said. “We’ll start practice August 2nd, and we’ll be full force then.”

Both Reeltown and Horseshoe Bend kick off their seasons Aug. 20.