Preview: Cairo Syrupmakers

The Cairo Syrupmakers finished 2005 at 7-4 after several key injuries marred what started out to be a promising season. By the end, the Syrupmakers had either replaced or moved 18 of 22 of the original starters. The biggest blow to the Syrupmakers came on September 30 in a game against Westover, when senior quarterback Tyler Johnson injured his knee and was lost for the season.

The Makers finished second to Dougherty County in region 1-AAA and lost to LaGrange in Round One of the GHSA state playoffs. Cairo's other losses came to AAAA teams, Thomas County Central and Bainbridge.

This season, the Syrupmakers will have six home games at West Thomas Stadium. Cairo will have two new teams on the schedule including Osborne High School from region 5B-AAAA and Mantanzas High School out of Florida. Cairo will also face AAAA teams Bainbridge and TCCHS and rival Thomasville High as a part of their non-region schedule. The Syrupmakers will battle Crisp, Westover, Worth, Monroe and Dougherty as part of their region schedule.

On offense, the Syrupmakers lose both quarterbacks Miford Adams and Tyler Johnson, leading rusher Fabian Cooper, linemen Blake Smith, Dusty Jenkins and Payne Singletary, plus tight ends Brandon Anderson and David Coleman. Players to watch returning for the Syrupmakers will be 6 foot 6 wide receiver Cameron Wade, slot back Chris Teal, who will play on defense as well. Offensive linemen, Roderick Barron, Kris Powell and Will Jones return, as well as sophomore running back Reginald Bryant, who started some as a freshman last year. As of now the quarterback position is still up in the air.

Defensively, the Makers will be looking to replace several key players including all region lineman Robert Thornton and Victor Jones. They must also replace defensive backs Miford Adams and William Jackson. Returning for the Syrupmakers on defense is Allen Hopkins, who will also play some at full back, Nate Brinson on the line and three year starters Pat Brown and Chris Teal in the secondary.

The Syrupmakers, normally strong on special teams, will be looking to replace their punter, kick off man and extra point kicker as well as their deep snapper. Kickers Trey Johnson, Luke Walden, punter Fabian Cooper and deep snapper Blake Smith all graduated.

With some experience in key areas, the Syrupmaker coaching staff will be looking for several players to step up as the Makers look to regain the region championship. Cairo finished second to a very tough Dougherty team, who played for the state AAA championship last year. Crisp County and Worth County look to come back strong in '06 as well, and Westover and Monroe hope to improve their records after tough seasons last year.

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