CAIRO — Spring practice begins Wednesday for the Cairo Syrupmakers.

A team that finished 5-5 last season has its share of question marks heading into the 2021 season. Spring may go a long way in answering these key questions:

Who will replace three-year starter Tay Solomon at running back? Who will emerge at wide receiver, a position where the Syrupmakers lose three to graduation? Who will replace Noah Jones at kicker?

The Syrupmakers will practice two weeks before capping their spring with a scrimmage against Colquitt County on May 21.

“It’s going to be fun. Anytime you get on the grass, it’s going to be fun, getting the kids out there,” Cairo coach Steven Devoursney said. “They’ve been working hard since January, so finally they’ll get out there and get to do what they love to do and get to see how much better they’ve gotten.”

Cairo loses 17 seniors to graduation.

It’s a much different spring for the Syrupmakers compared to 2020. All Georgia high school teams were sidelined because of the coronavirus pandemic. The teams had their spring practices taken away and were limited in what they could do early in the summer. It showed on the field.

“It was a tough year to start just with all of the limitations and everything,” Devoursney said. “You could tell the teams that had a starting quarterback back and a lot of starters back did better than teams that were having to replace a lot of people.”

The Syrupmakers return a good nucleus back on offense, including Kevin Speed at quarterback. Cairo also returns just five starters on defense. It’ll need to find playmakers and depth at all three defensive levels; line, linebacker and defensive back.

“Our kids had a good offseason, so hopefully it’ll show,” Devoursney said.

The Syrupmakers finished 5-5 but all five losses were to teams that advanced to at least the quarterfinal rounds of their respective state playoffs.

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