BREATHITT COUNTY — The South Laurel Cardinals were handed a tough 43-8 loss by Breathitt County on Friday night in the Kentucky River Medical Center Honey Bowl but South Laurel Coach Donnie Burdine said this game is only going to make his Cardinals better moving forward.
“We didn’t play very well, we made a lot of mental mistakes early but our kids kept fighting and battling,” he said. “Our whole plan this year is to get into the playoffs with enough experience to be able to win a playoff game. That’s been our focus—that’s what our kids want to do, that’s what our coaches want to do. So, we’ve built our schedule as tough as we can make it so that we are in atmospheres like tonight (Friday). Tonight was a big bowl game. The place was packed, there were all kinds of people there, our kids were a little nervous and we didn’t perform well early. But the next time that we’re in that situation, we’ll have already lived through it.”
Burdine said his Cardinals made some mental mistakes early that cost them, as Breathitt County took a 28-0 lead over South Laurel going into halftime.
Despite being down four touchdowns going into the second half, Burdine said he didn’t see any of his kids give up.
“I felt like our kids played really, really hard,” he said. “I never looked out there and thought a kid was laying down or not giving their best effort, which is the most important thing for us.”
South Laurel’s defense only gave up two more touchdowns in the second half, while the offense was finally able to put up some points.
The Cardinals found a touchdown late in the fourth quarter when Jordan Ramey carried the ball down the field to put South Laurel in scoring position and Brenton Willoughby found a 14-yard touchdown run.
“We moved really well in the second half, we just made some mistakes and couldn’t get in the end zone,” Burdine said.
One of the most important things Burdine saw in Friday night’s game was from quarterback Logan Gentry.
“I saw something I’d been waiting on for a couple years tonight (Friday),” Burdine said. “My quarterback, our senior leader, grew up and became our leader tonight. I didn’t know if he was going to get there and he got there tonight. He took his team over in the second half.”
The Cardinals will be back at it next week, as South Laurel will be hosting Bell County on Friday. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
“Our schedule is brutal but every game is there for a reason and we’re perfectly fine with playing Bell County next week and seeing if we can get a little better,” Burdine said. “Once we’ve played Bell County, everybody else is going to be a lesser opponent. So we’re ready to play them, we’re excited about it.”