CAIRO — In muddy conditions, Cairo running back Reginald Bryant was back to looking like Region 1-AAA’s top rusher.

After rain showers soaked West Thomas Stadium most of the day Friday, the Syrupmakers turned to their junior workhorse to power past Worth County 23-0.

“Really, everybody’s been telling me that I haven’t been running like myself, so I just came out here and tried to be myself tonight,” Bryant said about his 204-yard and three-touchdown performance. “And I put 200 yards up.”

The junior’s breakout against the Rams came after last year’s top rusher in the region was slowed by a nagging ankle injury to just 304 yards on 79 carries in No. 8 Cairo’s first six games. Bryant, who churned out more than 1,400 yards last year, sat out the season opener due to the injury.

“It won’t leave me alone,” Bryant said of the ankle sprain. “I have to run back and forth on the sideline to stay loose. It bothered me, but I try and not show my weak spots to the defense and just run.”

Although Bryant has been hampered this season, when the rains moved in Friday, Cairo coach Tom Fallaw said there was no doubt where the Syrupmakers (6-1, 2-0) were going to turn against Worth County (2-5, 0-2).

“Some of it’s been we’ve been making plays without him,” Fallaw said. “On a night like tonight, when it’s a wet and muddy night, he’s our mudder. I told him this morning when it rained for four straight hours, ‘Son, nobody in the region has what we’ve got with you.’ We were just going to get him the ball and let him work in this stuff.”

That plan was evident early. After Jeremy Bodiford returned the opening kickoff to the Worth County 25, Cairo battered the Rams with a heavy dose of Bryant. Four runs later and the Syrupmakers led 7-0.

“He’s good,” Worth County coach Harris Rainbow said. “They’ve leaned on him every other game, and I knew this one wouldn’t be any different.”

The Rams answered with a 40-yard pass from Sam Youngblood to Ricky Elizondo on their first play. However, a delay-of-game penalty cost Worth County a scoring opportunity deep in Cairo territory. On a fourth-and-10, Youngblood was pressured out of the pocket and couldn’t connect with Xavier Adams down the right sideline.

The Syrupmakers again turned to Bryant. Following a 13-yard scramble by quarterback Angelo Pease earned Cairo a first down, Bryant went back to work, picking up 33 yards on three carries. He later finished the drive from the Worth 2.

“I just talk to my line, tell them to get me upfield,” Bryant said. “I believe in those boys, and I owe it to the line.”

After a holding call negated a long touchdown run from Bryant on Cairo’s next possession, the Syrupmakers settled for a 36-yard field goal by Garrett Godwin midway through the second quarter.

Cairo added another touchdown with four minutes remaining when Bryant crashed in from one yard out.

Recommended for you