LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - After starting off the 2018 season 4-1, the South Laurel Cardinals got derailed by some injuries last year, causing them to skid to the finish line with a 1-5 record the remainder of the season.
Entering this fall, there are no expectations. The goal for the Cardinals is simple, just get better every day.
"We come into the season and we are 0-0," said senior linebacker/tight end Jacob Turner. "We are going to work as hard as we can, fight every game and hopefully get a lot of wins."
"We have no expectations, expectations cause problems," said South Laurel Football Head Coach Donnie Burdine. "Our expectation is to get better every day."
"Definitely more determination I've seen throughout the year in practices," said senior cornerback/wide receiver Connor Wilson. "Higher numbers, more dedication, I think we are solid."
"We are going to work every day to get better and better today is our mantra, that is what we are going to go with and we are going to let the chips fall where they may," said Burdine.
South Laurel enters its fifth season with Donnie Burdine at the helm.
In year one in 2015, the Cards went 2-9. The program was at a low point.
The past three seasons have all ended in 5-and-6 campaigns, with each team making steps in the right direction. This year, having that coaching consistency as well as patience is what makes the Cardinals hope that this year is another year of building South Laurel into a program that is a force to be reckoned with.
"When you are trying to build a program and it was as far down as we were, you've just got to take it in small baby steps and we have been concentrating on doing that," said Burdine. "Not worrying about anything other than the next game. So that is the same mantra we go into this year. We are just a little faster all over and a little more athletic than we've been in the past."
"This year we stepped up again, each year it keeps getting higher because Burdine has been here," said Wilson. "It just keeps building every year, and we finally have a coach that stays and that is what you need."
South Laurel hopes that year number five under Donnie Burdine is one that spells success. But there's an added challenge following the realignment this offseason.
The Cardinals will now face rival North Laurel, Pulaski County, Southwestern and Whitley county in Class 5A's District 8.
Unlike in recent years, the county rivals will not meet in week one of the season. South laurel travels to Montgomery County for the Montgomery County Rec Bowl, they'll play Boyd County. The Cardinals and Jaguars meet in the middle of the season this year, on Thursday, September 26th.