'Makers, Cougars and Rams eye big years in 2004 - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

'Makers, Cougars and Rams eye big years in 2004

August 8, 2004

Undated-- Tom Fallaw's first year as a head coach in region 1-AAAA was his last. But as he enters his second year at the helm of the Cairo program he says the Syrupmakers move to 1-AAA shouldn't be that drastic of a change.

"We expect the competition to be just as good. You've got Worth and Crisp and the three schools from Albany which are all going to be very good this year. So the talent level is going to be the same," Fallaw said.

And Fallaw will have a good mix of experienced players to work with this year. The Syrupmakers return 5 starters on offense and 8 more on defense, but he says the key to Cairo's success this year will be eliminating mental mistakes.

"We got to stop the silly mistakes that we tend to make and we got to make sure we execute our plan. We've done a pretty good job of heading that way last year and if we do what we're supposed to do on the field and do the fundamentals like we're supposed to, we'll be fine."

Like Cairo, the Crisp County Cougars are also making the move from quad-A to triple-A, but that's not the only thing that will be new for the Cougars this year.

"We're going to run more out of two back sets and use the tight end more. That's something we haven't done in the last few years," Hill said.

The last two quarterbacks to suit up for the Cougars signed scholarships with SEC schools, this year Johnny Smith and Keon Butts are in a two man battle for the job. But the days of the Cougars featuring a drop back passer are gone.

"Johnny's probably a little better athlete as far as running. Keyon probably throws the ball a little bit better. We're working them both right now, and we've got a good competition going there."

Senior running back Ira Coley will get most of the carries and with all but one offensive lineman back from last year, he'll have a wall of experience in front of him. In fact with 25 seniors on the roster, there's experience and leadership everywhere you look.

"I think we got a lot better attitude as a team (than last year) and I think we're going to do a whole lot better this year," senior center Wes Jacobs said. "We got seniors that want to win and don't do all the talking on the field, they're showing great leadership," senior defensive end Josh Deriso said.

Hope is very much alive and well in the Worth County Rams camp this preseason. Ricky and Bernard Hope that is. The brother's form a dangerous duo on both sides of the ball. And with five starters back on offense and six on defense, coach Harold Brantley believes the Rams could have a break through season.

"We have a simple goal to try and get better every day and if we do that we're going to succeed at some point," Brantley said.

But most importantly the Rams are buying into Brantley's system and the third year head coach says that in itself is already starting to pay dividends.

"A lot of the stuff that we've accomplished might not show up on Friday night, but it's definitely coming," Brantley added.

Posted at 12:20am by kevin.mcdermond@walb.com