The Mayfield Cardinals boarded a charter bus on Friday afternoon heading for Lexington just hours before they play in their 23rd state championship game.

Since 1959, the Cardinals have advanced to the state championship game 22 times, with Saturday becoming the 23rd. Of those trips, the Cardinals have won 12, which ranks them 4th in KHSAA history.

This year the Cardinals make a return trip just one year after their loss to Danville in the 2017 2A title game.

There they will face Christian Academy of Louisville, a school they have faced each of the last three years. However, those meetings game in the state semifinals with each team picking up one win.

“We know the stakes, it is win or lose, and we are ready to go,” senior lineman Barrett Hendley said. “We have had a good week of practice. Like I said, it is do or die so might as well end my senior season with another ring on my finger.”

“A lot of motivation right now,” runningback Kent Trey Matthews said.  “We just got to go out there, we are our own motivation, people have been doubting us. I know we are the number one seed but we are going down there like the underdog so that is how we are going down there. That is our motivation.”