By BRAD KEITH
(August 3, 2016) — In Dublin, the football headcount reached 90 Tuesday morning, enough to leave head coach and athletic director Bob Cervetto beaming.
“Ninety, that’s the most we’ve had in our six years for sure,” said Cervetto, who just began year six with his Dublin staff and has guided the Lions to back-to-back bi-district playoff wins for the first time in school history. “I think that more than anything shows what we have accomplished here. We have built a program the kids are proud to be a part of.”
Dublin turned in a UIL snap shot enrollment of 309 last October. If half those – say 155 – are boys, that means 58 percent of DHS males are now participating in football.
“Sixty percent is a good number. Do we want more? You bet, we’ll take all we can get,” Cervetto said.
And it isn’t just the number of boys, but their preparedness. Cervetto was reporting 50 or more some days at summer conditioning, and says he has already seen the advantages of such after just three days of fall practice.
“It makes a huge difference. When the kids come in here and most of them are in shape and ready to go, we can work on fundamentals and focus on bringing everything together,” he said. “When you have to get 60 guys in shape enough to go through a drill, that puts you behind the eight ball.”
Getting out from behind the proverbial eight ball has been the mission of Cervetto the last five years. Or as he put it, the mission was to “Restore the roar.”
And despite being in a tough district that features reunions with long-ago district mates Cisco and Eastland and powerful Coleman, as well as 3A newcomer Tolar and currently struggling Bangs, the Lions plan to keep roaring.
Right back to the state playoffs.
“Our kids expect to be there. And what’s really fun, is now they expect to compete and win when they get there.”
And not just in football. The Lady Lions had 38 out for volleyball Monday morning after winning a bi-district championship in that sport a year ago, too. Dublin also won a bi-district game for the first time this decade in girls basketball and won a bi-district series for the first time in baseball.
“We have a lot of excitement right now. It’s fun to start a new year when you have this kind of momentum,” Cervetto said. “It’s fun to have enough kids to be able to do some things and to have some options.”
Or, as Cervetto, said many times in his first few years in Dublin, it’s fun when you have a chance.
“That’s all you can ask for is a chance. We’ve earned some chances and taken advantage of a few of them when we’ve been able to,” he said. “Now we have 90 kids out here and a chance to really build on what we’ve done.”
The Lions are roaring again.
And now they’re 90 strong.