Battle for the Syrup Pitcher is Friday night at West Thomas Stadium
After a two-year hiatus, the “Battle for the Syrup Pitcher” will be renewed this Friday night in Cairo. The two teams have been battling one another off and on since 1922 with the Bulldogs holding a 38-24-6 edge in the rivalry. However, the last two years are not the only times the two teams have not met on the gridiron, the series was halted in the 1931-40, 70-71, 74-81, and 96-99. Because the teams are not always in the same region, scheduling can become a problem, as was the case in 2010-11.
In 1953, Mr. Julien B. Roddenbery added an extra incentive to the big rivalry game by adding a large trophy, suitably called the “Syrup Pitcher,” to be awarded to the winning team, which was allowed to keep possession of the trophy unil the winning team lost the next battle between the two squads in a regular season game.
The Bulldogs maintained control of the trophy until a 26-21 win by the Syrupmakers in 1962, which brought the trophy back to Cairo for the first time in the series. In all, Thomasville has won the trophy 22 times, and Cairo has claimed it 19 times, with three ties along the way. The trophy has remained in Cairo since 2003.
Since 2002, the game has been decided by 7 points or less in each game, and this year’s battle is shaping up to be another great classic. The Bulldogs and Syrupmakers were both hit by graduation in key spots and have many new faces in most positions. Thomasville will return six players on both offense and defense, Cairo returns one on defense and just a couple on offense.
For the Bulldogs (0-1), who lost to cross-town rival TCCHS last week 41-6, the offense is being led by sophomore quarterback Cal King. The Bulldogs turned the ball over four times last week, which led to three TCCHS touchdowns. The Bulldogs have speed though with the likes of Mario Cherry and Deon Sanders and will be a challenge for a young Syrupmaker defense.
On defense, the Bulldogs return a couple of starters who have been hampered by injury. Mario Mathis has just been cleared to play after a knee injury and Shawn Harper is back as well. Sanders also plays on defense for the Bulldogs.
“It’s a rival game and anything can happen, that’s for sure, we’ve got to continue to work on getting better and play with more enthusiasm and have some fun. These games aren’t region games, but the crowd likes them and it should be a fun atmosphere. No doubt, like most years, both teams will come out and play hard against each other,” said Cairo coach Tom Fallaw.
The Syrupmakers open the season this Friday night at home against the Bulldogs. Season tickets will remain on sale until Friday. They are $75 each for the chairback seats and all other reserved seats are $50. Cairo has 5 home games this season. General admission tickets will be on sale at the ticket booth for $8. Game time is 7:30 p.m.