LEXINGTON Boyd County knew the enormity of the task when it opened its state tournament Tuesday night: defending state champion Paul Laurence Dunbar on home turf.
In fact, Leos knew this from personal experience. The Bulldogs eliminated the Lions 4-0 in the state quarterfinals last year.
But the score was competitive well into the second half of it, and Boyd County was determined to make sure it wasn’t easy on Tuesday either.
“It was about getting someone to earn their place in the Elite Eight,” Lions coach Logan Price said. “If it was going to be us, then we were going to win it, but we knew we were going to try and make sure (Dunbar) won it too, and we feel like we did.”
Boyd County entered the second half still tied 0-0 before the Bulldogs got goals from Joany Chavez about two minutes into the second half and Arturo Gutierrez later to win by that 2-0 margin, reported The Herald Leader.
According to Price, the Lions’ spacing was a bit behind Chavez’s tally, and Gutierrez needed a deflection to cross the goal line.
Price credited assistant coaches JW Jarrell and Jack Sanderson with helping devise the game plan, and the Lions (11-4-2) with executing it effectively.
“We really focused on defense and not on pursuit,” he said. “It worked.”
“We talked about it yesterday, if you hadn’t bought it and you didn’t believe it, it made no sense to leave the dressing room. Don’t get on the bus. So for them to come out and leave. executing says a lot about the guys and their willingness to do what it takes to win ball matches.
Boyd County is looking forward now after winning the 16th regional tournament title for the second straight season and giving Dunbar (16-2-3) everything he wanted.
“It continues to show that we’re not just the one-year-old, four-year-old wonder, whatever,” Price said.
The Bulldogs advance to host Corbin in the state quarterfinals.
Boyle County 8, Johnson Central 0
DANVILLE The visiting Golden Eagles held on within 2-0 of the Rebels at halftime before Boyle County did after intermission.
Matthew Britt scored twice in the first half for the Rebels, champions of the 12th region (19-4-2), reported The lawyer-messenger.
Jaxon Pool scored twice after intermission, and Jack Little, Andrew Leines and Alan Wireman added for Boyle County.
Johnson Central’s season ends at 14-8-1.
The Rebels host Ryle, a 1-0 winner over Montgomery County on Tuesday, in the state quarterfinals.