CAIRO — With Friday night's 31-0 win over Shaw, the Cairo Syrupmakers locked up the No. 2 seed in Region 1-AAAA and subsequent home game for the first round of next week's state playoffs. They did so without the services of some key players, including senior quarterback Matthew Peters and junior running back Tay Solomon.

Both were given the night off with the state playoffs looming in just two weeks. Both could return to action for Friday night's regular season finale against Dougherty.

“You're one play away from getting hurt. We're just trying to be smart with those guys," said Cairo coach Steve Devoursney. "We felt like we could win the game (against Shaw) without them, we did. You'll probably see some of them next week and see a lot of them when the playoffs get here."

Cairo made easy work of Shaw in last week's 31-0 win at West Thomas Stadium. The Syrupmakers did so with a dominant rushing attack that churned out 241 yards, led by junior Ricky Walker's 93. Cairo also held Shaw to 85 total yards, five first downs and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first half.

The Syrupmakers improved to 7-2 with the win and have won two straight following a disheartening 52-46, double-overtime loss to Carver-Columbus. Devoursney had expressed concern about the lingering effect the loss seemed to have on his players following the defeat. They appeared to have turned a corner Friday night, however.

“Hopefully, we can keep getting better each week. That was our big goal, not to go backwards," he said. "We haven't, and that's a good thing. We've just got to keep getting better each week. It's a different season when the playoffs get here.”

Cairo's final tuneup before the playoffs comes at home against Dougherty. The Trojans have struggled this year, posting a 2-7 record.

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