MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Going into Saturday’s game, South Laurel Coach Donnie Burdine thought his team’s offense would be leading their team to a win over Boyd County but Burdine said he instead saw his defense come together to pick up the victory for the Cardinals.

The Cardinals are now sitting at a 1-0 record after finding a 21-8 season-opening win over Boyd County in Saturday’s 72nd annual Montgomery County Recreation Bowl.

“We’ve been a lot better on offense than we have in defense in our scrimmages and tonight we sputtered really bad on offense to start out and our defense really picked us up and did really well and our kids needed to see that,” Burdine said. “Now they have respect for each other on both sides of the ball.”

After a scoreless first quarter, the Cardinals finally got things going offensively when quarterback Logan Gentry ran for one yard into the end zone for a touchdown with 10:46 left in the second quarter, followed by an extra point to give South Laurel a 7-0 lead.

Boyd County found a last-second touchdown when Dayne Lawson ran for 50 yards into the end zone, followed by a two-point conversion to give the Lions an 8-7 lead over the Cardinals at halftime.

Much like the first quarter, both teams struggled to get anything in the end zone in the third quarter. And after another scoreless quarter, South Laurel’s offense came into the fourth quarter ready to put the game away.

South Laurel’s Daterian Brigance found a three-yard run touchdown with 11:27 left in the game, followed by a two-point conversion, to give the Cardinals a 15-8 lead over Boyd County.

The Cardinals put the game away for good after South Laurel’s defense turned the ball over with 3:07 left in the game to put the Cardinals in scoring position.

Brigance ran the ball into the end zone for a touchdown to secure a 21-8 lead over Boyd County with 2:36 left in the game.

After a slow start in the first half, Burdine said he told his quarterback (Logan Gentry) that he would need to step it up and help lead the team in order to pull out a win.

“At halftime, I told him ‘you’re our leader, you’ve got to lead us’ and I thought he did a much better job in the second half and I was proud of the way he brought himself out of that funk and played well in the second half,” he said.

One thing that Burdine has drilled into his players this season is discipline and his Cardinals finally got to put that to the test on Saturday.

“In year’s past we would’ve probably got five or six offsides penalties defensively, especially on third downs, just not being disciplined and focused,” he said. “I thought we were really disciplined on defense tonight. We played with really good poise and discipline and I’m very proud of them for that.”

The Cardinals will be traveling to Breathitt County on Friday to take on the Bobcats in the Kentucky River Medical Center Honey Bowl. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.

“We had to be tough, we had to be physical and that was good for us,” Burdine said. “We just want to compete in every ball game—that’s the big thing. We just want to compete in every game.”

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