CAIRO — Cairo's second-round opponent in the Class 4A playoffs scores plenty of points and seldom surrenders any. Cedartown will provide a stiff challenge for the Syrupmakers on Friday night.

“If you're a top four team in the state, there's a reason. You're going to be good in all three phases,” Cairo coach Steve Devoursney said. “They're good on offense. They put a lot of points on the board. They're good on defense. 

“There's only 16 teams left in 4-A football, so everybody's good now. We've just got to play with them. You can't make mistakes. You can't have turnovers. We've got to win the turnover battle.”

The Bulldogs are 9-1 and are averaging 36 points per game. They've eclipsed 40 points five times. However, the team's defense is just as impressive. It has pitched three shutouts and is allowing just  nine points per game. That's why Devoursney is emphasizing mistake-free football if his Syrupmakers want to pull the upset.

“We've got to make them earn everything they get,” he asid. “They're well-coached, do a good job. They've got some big time players. But that's why you play the games. That's why you work all year round to try to have those games to try to have success against great teams like this.”

Cairo has won five straight after starting the season 2-3. Three of the Syrupmakers' last four wins have come by three points or less, including last week's 33-31 win over New Hampstead in the first round of the state playoffs. 

It's an impressive turnaround for a team struggling with COVID and consistency early in the season.

“It says a lot about our kids, the adversity and being able to overcome. Canceling the first two games was big. Then finally bouncing back after all of that and finally getting back on track helps us a lot,” Devoursney said.

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