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Starr heads eighth-grade staff

Scott Starr, defensive backfield coach on Decatur County School Superintendent Ralph Jones’ 1990 Cairo High School Syrupmakers state Class AAA championship staff, again heads the Bainbridge Middle School eighth-grade Bearcats coaching staff and the overall middle school football program this season.

Starr was also a head track coach for 18 years, winning five state championships at Cairo and four at Fitzgerald High School.

His 1987 Fitzgerald team won the state track championship. He also won state championships at Carrollton High School and Worth County High School.

The foundation of the eighth-grade staff for several years has been provided by Ell Willis and Mike Jones, a pair of former Bearcats.

Willis, the 1980-81 BHS senior athlete of the year, was an outstanding three-sport athlete, playing split end on the football team, guard on the basketball team and pitching and playing shortstop on the baseball team.

As a junior at Georgia Southwestern University where he pitched three years for the baseball team after pitching one year at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC), Willis recorded a team-low 3.20 earned run average.

Willis spent four years as a varsity football assistant coach. He coached defensive ends under head coach Sonny Smart in 1993 and 1994 and running backs and quarterbacks under head coach Steve Bench in 1995 and 1996. In 2003, Willis coached the West Bainbridge Middle School seventh-grade Eagles football team.

Jones, the other foundation setter, was a 1979 BHS graduate who played flanker on the Bearcats football team and center field on the Bearcats baseball team.

After graduating from the University of Georgia, he began his coaching career on coach T. McFerrin’s Peachtree High School staff in Atlanta

He coached one year at Peachtree, then came home to coach Bearcats defensive backs for six years, four under coach Smart and two under coach Bench.

Blake Carruthers, who coached the Bearcats offensive line the last three years under head coaches Greg Guy, Ricky Woods and Ed Pilcher, joins the eighth-grade staff this season. He was an All-Conference and second-team All-American performer at Troy State University,

Carruthers was as starting offensive lineman on Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame Coach Jim Hughes’ 1994 state Class AAAA champion and 15-0 Colquitt County High School Packers football team.