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Cairo and TCCHS battle for the “Bucket” Friday night

The Barnett’s Creek Water Bucket goes to the winner of the Cairo/TCCHS game each year and is currently sitting at Cairo High School, but will be on the line again this Friday night as the Cairo Syrupmakers host the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets. The games starts at 7:30 p.m. at West Thomas Stadium. Even though the game has no region ramifications, the rivalry between the schools from bordering counties will attract hundreds of spirited fans.
The series, which TCCHS leads 17-20-1, started in 1960. The Syrupmakers won the first game 8-0 and won the games the next three years before tying in ’64 14-14. The Makers went on to win the next three contests, before the Yellow Jackets went on a seven game winning streak in games spread out over 16 years. The home team hasn’t won a game in this series since the Jackets beat the Makers in the Jacket Nest in 2002, 29-26. Cairo won last year’s game in Thomasville 20-13 in overtime.
The Syrupmakers come into Friday night’s challenge with a 2-1 record, fresh off a 70-0 win over Jordan High School. Meanwhile the Jackets are 1-1 with a win over Thomasville 35-20 and a 44-14 loss to Colquitt County two weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets were off last week.
The Jackets finished 8-3 last season with an overtime loss to Cairo, and losses to Northside Warner Robins and Dutchtown in round two of the playoffs. The Jackets lost a lot of experience to graduation, including their quarterback and running backs. They also lost most of their defense, including highly recruited defensive end Ray Drew, now at the University of Georgia. The Jackets do return their entire offensive line, all seniors. That could spell trouble for the Syrupmakers.
“They have a lot of experience coming back on their offensive line and a very talented quarterback. That makes for a pretty tough challenge,” said Cairo coach Tom Fallaw. “It’s a rival game, and there will be a lot of excitement here Friday night. We need to play our best and keep the mistakes to a minimum. There will be ups and downs during the game, and we just need to be ready to put the last play behind us and get ready for the next one.”  
The Syrupmakers breezed  through last week’s game with Jordan, but struggled at times the week before against Bainbridge. “We have been working on getting back to what we do best, and getting ourselves better,” said Fallaw.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. this Friday night at West Thomas Stadium.

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