CAIRO — Coaches often tout their players as being just as resilient, if not moreso, than the coaches themselves. That's being tested this year for the Cairo Syrupmakers football team.

The team that was supposed to be preparing for its third game of the year this week has yet to take the field since its preseason jamboree on Aug. 13 due to COVID-19 protocols within their own program last week and other teams the prior weeks. Cairo will take the field for the first time on Friday when it travels to Thomasville to play the Bulldogs for the Syrup Pitcher.

“It's been a long time since we've been on a football field against another team,” Cairo coach Steve Devoursney said. “There's no better way to get better than play a game. We haven't played one yet. We desperately need a game to try to get better.”

Cairo was scheduled to play Mitchell County in a preseason scrimmage. That got canceled. Cairo was schedule to play Fitzgerald in the August 20 season opener. That too got canceled, and has been rescheduled. 

“Our kids were disappointed when Mitchell canceled on us. Luckily, we found another scrimmage,” Devoursney said. “Fitzgerald canceled, and that was disappointing. We go all the way to Thursday before Brooks and we cancel. We don't know about this week until Monday. Hopefully, it works out this week.”

As if getting on the field for the first time in three weeks wasn't tough enough for the Syrupmakers, they're preparing for a Thomasville team that's 2-0, having dispatched of Brooks County and Thomas County Central last week. Plus, the coach said, several players remain out and have not practiced. 

“Our kids know that we're in for a tough week this week. We're just trying to get them motivated and go play,” Devoursney said.

Cairo's home opener is scheduled for next week against Escambia (Fla.).

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