CAIRO -- The Cairo Syrupmakers are coming off a 24-7 victory in the season opener against Cook, but head coach Tom Fallaw knows there is a lot of work that needs to be done, especially on the offensive side of the ball for tonight's game against rival Thomasville.

The Syrupmakers struggled to move the ball on a consistent basis against the Hornets, gaining only 195 yards of total offense. Quarterback Brandon Robinson struggled with his passing, finishing 1-for-8 for three yards and two interceptions. The only offensive touchdown came on a 65-yard touchdown run by Danta Harrell.

Fallaw hopes the offense will be able to move the ball and put pressure on the Bulldogs' defense, but doesn't know if his offense will improve.

"No, I'm not confident," Fallaw said. "Hopefully, we'll play better, but I can't say I'm confident we will. That's why we play the game on the field though.

"I think the first game we missed some assignments and had some nervousness. Hopefully we'll be able to make those improvements."

The improvements will have to be made quick, because if this year's match-up is like many between the two rivals, it's going to be a game that comes down to the wire with whoever has the ball last having the shot to win the game.

"Both teams are going to show up to play," Fallaw said. "It's a rival game and those are hard to predict."

Although, the Bulldogs have only played one quarter of a regular season game and have not had extensive game experience since they scrimmaged Tift County, Fallaw knows the Syrupmakers can't take them lightly.

"From everything I've seen on them they are fundamentally sound on offense and they capitalize on mistakes on defense," Fallaw said. "They're breaking in a new tailback, but I believe the fullback is the same one who started at the end of last year."

But the unit which worries Fallaw the most is Thomasville's offensive line. The Bulldogs return four senior starters on the line.

"Thomasville's offensive line is going to be one of the best we face all season," Fallaw said. "They return almost everybody up front and those are the people who pave the success of the offense. It's going to be a tough challenge."

Two things the Syrupmakers were able to do last week was play solid defense and execute their special teams to perfection. The defense held a strong Cook offense to seven points and the special teams scored 14 points off two blocked punts. Fallaw says if those two units continue to win their battles, the Syrupmakers have a chance to win.

"There are three parts to the game -- offense, defense and special teams," Fallaw said. "Usually the team that wins two of those three wins the game. We were able to win on defense and special teams (against Cook)."

But Fallaw knows he won't be able to rely on two blocked punts per game, but yet still believes his team is capable of winning the special teams battle each game.

"We don't rely on the blocked punts," Fallaw said. "If the opportunity presents itself like it did last week, we will try, but we're not going to rush 11 people every time. But we want to win the special teams portion every game and don't want to give up big plays."

In other area games, the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets also look to get their first game of the 2004 season under their belt as they host the Colquitt County Packers.

The Jackets started off strong against the Bulldogs last week scoring on a 46-yard Doug Pilcher touchdown run in the first quarter, and look to keep that going against their rivals from Moultrie.

The Packers come into the 7:30 p.m. game fresh off a 34-7 thrashing of Meadowcreek last Friday.

Brookwood also looks to finish its first game of the season after lightning halted last Friday's game against Flint River Academy with 43 seconds left in the first half.

The Warriors trailed 9-0 at that point, but seemed to have started finding a little bit of a groove on offense as Tyler Alexander was able to find room to run, and quarterback Rann Day settled down and completed a couple passes in a row.

Today, they face Munroe Fla. Academy. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. at Brookwood School.

The final area game features two teams who were able to get last week's opening season games in, but are still looking for their first wins, in the Pelham Hornets and the Albany Indians.

The Hornets are coming off a 22-0 defeat to cross-county rival Mitchell-Baker, and the Indians lost to Westover 24-6.

Although the Hornets didn't get the offense going, the defense played well in the second half as Mitchell-Baker scored all 22 points in the first half. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m. at Pelham.



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