The players that carried the 2016 Syrupmakers to a remarkable 11-2 (7-0) record last season are all but completely gone.
With only four returning starters returning on the entire roster, head coach Steve DeVoursney understands the challenge set before him as he enters his 3rd season.
“We are trying to put them into a lot of different situations this summer as far as the weight room, running, lifting, padded caps, passing tournaments, just trying to get them acclimated to competition as much as we can this summer,” DeVoursney said.
But it wasn’t talent that was lacking last season, according to DeVoursney, but intangibles that caused them to stumble in the playoffs.
“I think last year our biggest concern was just leadership,” he said. “We are doing some leadership council meetings, talking to our kids a lot about leadership, defining what leadership is, and outlining what role models are. We are trying to change the culture of our whole team, our whole program.”
Rivals Thomasville, Thomas County Central, and Cairo occupy the first three games of the season for the Syrupmakers, so they will be tested early, but that only serves as a teaser to the late season challenges that Cairo will face.
“Our goal is always to make the playoffs and try to win a region championship,” DeVoursney said. “Just because we lost a bunch of good players, that’s not going to change. Hopefully when playoff time comes, we have a chance to be in there.”
In the Game Magazine / South Georgia / August – September 2017
Young Syrupmakers Prioritize Leadership and Identity
Written by Cole Parker
Photos by Mike Chapman