Cairo-BHS followed familiar script

Published 8:17 am Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Last Friday night’s football game at Centennial Field was the kind of game you come to expect when the Bainbridge High School Bearcats and Cairo High School Syrupmakers get together on the gridiron.

The statistics could not have been much more even. The Bearcats gained 142 total yards — 97 on the ground and 45 through the air, while the Syrupmakers gained 166 total yards — 37 on the ground and 129 through the air.

Both teams played hard and represented their schools well. The victory was sealed with a 30-yard field goal, with just six seconds left in the game, by junior place kicker Daniel Provence.

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Provence also got the Bearcats even 14-14 with a good extra point kick, following a 6-yard fourth-quarter touchdown run by Damian Bouie that cut the Syrupmakers’ lead to 14-13.

Ironically, the Bearcats edged the Syrupmakers by the same 17-14 score at Cairo High School’s West Thomas Stadium in 2011.

A big key to the victory was the Bearcats’ ball control. Senior running backs Bouie and Terry Lewis picked up yardage in key situations and the team did not give up the ball via fumble or interception. The Bearcats did allow two punt blocks, however.

Another key to the victory was the clutch punt and kickoff return yardage by senior Cameron McDowell.

He pulled in a punt at his own 40-yard-line and returned it 48 yards to the Syrupmakers’ 12-yard-line, to set up Bouie’s late touchdown run that helped the Bearcats tie the game.

McDowell’s late fourth-quarter 31-yard punt return to the Syrupmakers’ 43-yard-line helped set up Provence’s winning field goal.

There was a lot of pressure on Provence, long snapper Andrzej Jeglinski and punter and holder Paul Soden on the tying extra point and winning field goal attempts. They all executed their duties with tremendous poise.

I also want to commend starting junior quarterback Preston Norris, who operated the Bearcats’ split-back veer offense well. He completed three of four passes for 45 yards, and carried the ball 10 times for 44 yards.

It was Norris’s 20-yard pass to tight end Madison Malone, from the Cairo 44 to the Cairo 24, that was instrumental in the Bearcats’ winning field-goal drive.

The team and our award winning band and cheerleaders are all doing a great job.

Let’s fill the visiting stands Friday night in Blakely, let them know how much we appreciate their efforts and how proud we are of them, and cheer the Bearcats, who are 1-1, on to another big victory over the Early County High School Bobcats.

Joe Crine is the sports editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at