MOULTRIE -- Cairo football coach Tom Fallaw wanted to see how the Syrupmakers would react to adversity.

Four first-half turnovers and two Colquitt County defensive touchdowns later, Fallaw got his wish.

"I've wanted to see how this team would respond when faced with adversity," he said, "and I thought we handled it and fought back well."

While the Syrupmakers were impressive in fighting back against the Packers at Mack Tharpe Stadium Thursday night, Region 1-AAAAA Colquitt County escaped with a 14-7 win.

During an opening half that saw Cairo struggle to hold onto the ball, Colquitt County's defense took advantage of its many opportunities to score.

With 1:25 left in the first quarter, Kamari Peterson scooped up a Fabian Cooper fumble and rumbled 67 yards to give the Packers the lead, and a minute later Ricky Grier added a 15-yard return of a Terry Bryant fumble to give the Packers the 14-0 lead.

Aside from his fumble, Cooper also struggled to break free rushing for 43 yards on 16 carries. Still, the senior running back impressed Colquitt County coach Tim Cokely.

"Fabian Cooper is a good football player," Cokely said. "He's a hard runner.

"I wouldn't say we came in focused on shutting him down, rather, hope to limit his big plays because he will get his plays."

Tyler Johnson made his first start at quarterback for Cairo and the senior struggled at the outset, contributing two interceptions to the Syrupmakers' turnover woes in the opening half.

However, in the third and final quarter for the two varsity squads, Johnson started to find a rhythm.

He completed three straight passes on Cairo's scoring possession, including hitting a wide open Chris Teal on a crossing route for a 19-yard score with 2:46 left. Johnson finished the game 7-for-16 for 67 yards and added a 19-yard scramble on Cairo's final drive that stalled at the Colquitt 28-yard line as the third quarter ended.

"We have a new quarterback in Tyler and he's going to make mistakes like that and we have to live with it," Fallaw said. "He did a good job there (in third quarter), but that doesn't negate the turnovers."

While Cairo's offense struggled to hold onto the football, the Syrupmakers defense forced two turnovers as well and kept the Packers offense from scoring. Colquitt County managed only 147 yards in three quarters.

"We had a lot of breakdowns," Fallaw said, "on both sides of the ball, whether it be putting the ball on the ground, or throwing interceptions or not tackling the quarterback on the option. We had a lot of breakdowns.

"It was clear to see that it was our first time out on the field."

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