FLASH STAFF REPORT
Russell Huffman and Brad Keith
BRECKENRIDGE (September 22, 2017) — Box score readers didn’t know it was coming, but those watching closely knew it wasn’t if, but when.
It wasn’t a matter of IF Dublin could score a victory.
It was a matter of how dangerous a club can the Lions become WHEN the cut out the second half mistakes, most pertinently, the second half fumbles.
Dulbin found itself behind the proverbial 8-ball again Friday night – down 17-6 at halftime on homecoming night at Breckrenridge, an opponent the Lions had not defeated in decades.
But unlike last year, there would be no lighting overhead to halt the game, and bring to a screeching halt the hard-fought comeback of the Lions.
“It was nice to get to finish it tonight,” said Dublin head coach Bob Cervetto, whose club scored with just under 5 minutes remaining then got, in essence, two stops to defeat Coach Casey Hubble, who began his career in the 1990s as an assistant coach at Dublin straight of Tarleton, in a 27-24 nail biter.
“This was a real quality win in a game between teams who I believe are both better than their records indicate that they are,” Cervetto explained. “They were 0-3, but they played Cisco, Eastland and Mineral Wells. We were 0-3 but we played Hico and a couple of the best teams in the state in Albany and then Teague, who was number three in the preseason Padilla poll and number five in the Harris ratings, so we both played good people and we both came in real wanting to get that first win, and our kids were the ones who made the most plays down the stretch to win a close ball game.
And so now it’s Dublin that gets to carry that winning feeling into its own homecoming when the Lions welcome Bosqueville to Memorial Stadium next Friday.
“They’re another formidable opponent. They lost to Crawford tonight, but Crawford is about No. 7 in the state,” said Cervetto. “We’ll be ready for them.”
His team was definitely ready for the second half Friday, and they were especially for the final 14 or so minutes.
Breckenridge led 24-6 until Jacob Stanley scored the first of his two second-half touchdowns on a 3-yard run in the final minute of the third quarter. The defense then began its fourth quarter shutout, and when Breckenridge gave it back, the Lions could smell Buckaroo blood, not homecoming mums, in the air overhead.
Stanley struck again, this time through the air on a 26-yard pass from Josh Hanes, and Tyshon Hopkins followed up with a 2-point pass from Hanes trim the Buckaroo lead to 24-20.
Another defense stop proved the momentum had completely flipped sides, and moments later, so did the lead.
Hanes tossed his third TD of the night, a 30-yard strike to Blake Porter, for the winning score with 4:39 remaining and Nabor Calderon was true on the point after to make it 27-24.
By that time the Dublin defense was so confident that not even a roughing the punter after their first stop of the final five minutes could stand in the way of the pending victory. The Lion defenders turned around and stopped four more downs, giving it bak to the offense to run off the final 90 seconds of the win.
“We knew we just had to play four full quarters. We had been playing one may be two good quarters, but it takes four,” said Cervetto. “I’m not saying we played a perfect four quarters tonight, but we were a lot stronger in the second half, and we had some kids step up leadership-wise which something we’ve really been looking forward to.
“Our kids stayed focused, even down three scores they didn’t lose sight of the game plan, they just cleaned up their mistakes and kept fighting,” Cervetto added. “It was neat to see the light come on tonight in some of their eyes, and now we just have to go right back to work and try to build on that.”
Hanes was 14-22 passing for 163 yards, the 3 TDs easily outweighing the lone interception. He was also his normal dual-threat self, rushing for 33 yards while backfield mate Keith Wright added 48 on nine carries, or more than 5 per attempt.
All in all, Dublin had 257 yards of offense and only two turnovers – significantly than their seven giveaways at Albany and their six in the neutral-field loss to speedy Teague.
*Note: Reports a vehicle in the Dublin school travel party was involved in an accident were quickly confirmed, but so was a report that it was only a minor incident with no injuries. The Dublin ISD vehicle was rear-ended returning to De Leon along state highway 6, but the all were realized form the scene within minutes by De Leon Police Department.
*Senior statistician Marshall Copeland, Statistcally Speaking, LLC., contributed to this report.