THOMASVILLE – A new era in Thomas County Central football takes center stage on Friday when the Yellow Jackets host the Cairo Syrupmakers in Justin Rogers' first regular season game as head coach.

Rogers discussed the mindset of his team as it prepares to play a fierce rival at the Jackets Nest.

“The biggest thing is accepting that it's here and understanding the urgency and the preparation. Everything was put into place for this week. There's a lot of time spent and effort put in to get to the first game. Now it's here and lets understand the importance of it,” Rogers said.

Central has had two weeks to prepare for Cairo following a 65-21 victory over Cook in the teams' preseason scrimmage. Rogers believes the Yellow Jackets need to develop more consistency if they hope to end a three-game losing streak against the Syrupmakers.

“We've still got so many consistency things, doing things on a consistent basis,” Rogers said. “We've just got to continue to quit having the ebbs and flows and have this thing more consistent without having mental busts.”

Central has not beaten Cairo since a 23-17 victory in 2016. Rogers knows what to expect from a rivalry game after spending time as head coach in Jones County and Colquitt County.

“The thing is you know they're going to play hard. Any time you have community games where it's neighboring communities, those kids compete. They grew up knowing a lot of these kids, knowing each other,” Rogers said. “There's a lot of family members in both communities. Just the effort and everything that's going to come right out of the gate from the opening kick, but once you get this game going, it will settle in and be a football game.”

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