White, teammates honored

Published 11:29 am Friday, March 18, 2011

ED “SONNY” WHITE of Bainbridge, back right, lines up at left halfback for the Cairo High School Syrupmakers 1946 State Class B champion football team that was inducted into the Grady County Sports Hall of Fame last Saturday night. Lineman, from the left, are Bob Lashley, Judson Mayfield, Paul Tyson, Julian Hudson, Tom Hopkins, Tommie Greene and Earnest Brookins. The quarterback is Lewis Carr. In the back, are Roy Robertson, L.C. Collins and White.

Ed “Sonny” White of Bainbridge, the senior starting left halfback on the Cairo High School Syrupmakers 1946 State Class B championship football team and his teammates were inducted into the Grady County Sports Hall of Fame last Saturday night.

The owner of White’s TV Sales and Service in Bainbridge for many years, White attended the Hall of Fame banquet at the Cairo Cultural Center along with teammates Tom Hopkins, who played left guard, Jack Drew, who played end, Julian Hudson, who played center, George Hurst, who played quarterback, and Bob Lashley, who played end.

The 1946 championship was the first of three state football championships the Syrupmakers have won.

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Cairo won State Class AAA championships under coach Ralph Jones in 1990 and coach Tom Fallaw in 2008.

Jones, a former Syrupmakers quarterback, Bainbridge High School Bearcats head football coach and principal, Decatur County School Superintendent and himself a member of the Grady County Sports Hall of Fame, led the Bearcats to the 1982 State Class AAA football championship, before returning home and leading the Syrupmakers to the 1990 State Class AAA football championship.

White has many fond memories of that 1946 championship season.

“The 1946 Syrupmakers were a unique squad,” he said.

“We had 27 players and one coach, Jeff West. At the beginning of the season, I think everybody on the team felt this would be our year,” White said. “We started with a bang, winning the first five games and that included victories over Americus, Valdosta and Thomasville.”

But then, to the dismay of the coach, fans and team, the Syrupmakers lost 13-0 to Tifton, which ironically Cairo would later play again for the South Georgia championship.

“We came back and won the next four games. Then since Bainbridge and Tifton had the best records, we were chosen to play each other again, this time in Moultrie, for the South Georgia championship,” White said. “This time we beat Tifton 40-0 and earned the right to face North Georgia champion Rockmart High School in Albany for the state championship.

Cairo beat Rockmart 40-19 for the state championship before a crowd of 7,200 fans, which was the largest crowd to witness a state championship game to that point, White said.

He said there was nothing like being a senior at Cairo High School and playing on a state championship Syrupmakers football team.

“Out of all the things I’ve done, being a member of that state championship football team in Cairo in 1946 is one of the greatest highlights of my life,” he said.

ED “SONNY” WHITE shows the form he used while helping lead the Syrupmakers to a football championship.