It was a special night Friday for the Cairo Syrupmakers.
It was just as sweet for head coach Tom Fallaw.
Fallaw won his 100th game as Cairo’s head coach as the Syrupmakers advanced to the second round of the Class AAAA playoffs with a 24-13 victory over Riverdale at West Thomas Stadium.
“I’m more embarrassed by this than I am happy, all the stuff afterward,” said Fallaw, who was presented the game ball at midfield following the game. “I kind of like to just be myself and be quiet and move on. I’ve got to give credit to all the coaches that have been with me through this and all the kids that have played for us. Really that’s the key to our success is that we’ve had a bunch of guys that have come here and been together for so long and believe in each other. That includes players and coaches.”
Cairo will host Mary Persons next week. The Bulldogs hammered the Statesboro Blue Devils 40-14 on Friday.
Fallaw’s 19th playoff win wasn’t easy. Cairo (9-2) trailed 7-6 at halftime following a late second-quarter touchdown pass by the Raiders (7-4) on a fourth-and-25 play.
“We did the same thing we did when we went into halftime against Thomas County Central. We just told the kids that we made a decision against Thomas County Central at halftime that we were going to get good at what we do. If we lose doing it, then we lose doing it,” Fallaw said. “You just go in there and tell them that, they had a couple of big plays and we made a bunch of mistakes. If we just relax, do what we do, then we’re going to be okay. You’ve got to give our kids a lot of credit, they persevered through a lot of stuff right there.”
Leading Cairo’s charge in the second half was senior running back/linebacker P.J. Davis. Following an injury on defense that forced Davis to the sideline, he returned to the field after Deonta Dismuke picked off a pass for the Syrupmakers. On the first play from Riverdale’s 45-yard line, Davis burst through the line, broke several would-be tackle attempts and rumbled to the end zone for a game-changing score.
“P.J. has a little bit of a nagging injury. He’ll be fine,” Fallaw said. “He definitely jump-started us. We’ve got other backs. Jeremiah (Hill) comes in and carries the load for us. He does a good job and makes some plays. Our offense did a good job of controlling the second half.”
For full details, see Saturday's edition of the Times-Enterprise.
Riverdale 0 7 0 6 — 13
Cairo 6 0 7 11 — 24
C — Donald Thomas 15 pass to Reese Wooten (kick missed)
R — Asania Aderhold 27 pass to Kambad Magwood (Juan Cervantes kick)
C — P.J. Davis 45 run (Taylor Donalson kick)
C — Jeremiah Hill 13 run (Thomas pass to Deonta Dismuke)
C — Donalson 22 kick
R — Aderhold 52 pass to Trey Sanders (kick missed)
First downs 8 12
Rush-yards 27-78 43-211
Passing 247 37
Comp-Att-Int 9-20-1 4-11-0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties 9-85 9-63
RUSHING — Riverdale, Kambad Magwood 6-35, Fred Ward 5-39, Asania Aderhold 11-8. Cairo, P.J. Davis 15-95, Donald Thomas 13-47, Jeremiah Hill 11-55, Reese Wooten 1-6, Brian Soles 3-8.
PASSING — Riverdale, Aderhold 9-20-1 247. Cairo, Thomas 4-11-0 37.
RECEIVING — Riverdale, Rashad Canty, 4-125, Trey Sanders 2-63, Magwood 2-31, Brent Merritt 2-28. Cairo, Justin Hill 1-2, Wooten 3-35.