Dublin hit the gridiron at 6:30 Monday morning as 56 Lions reported for workouts, and Coach Bob Cervetto said he expects that number to swell up to 65 players at the high school level.
“We’ve still got some kids out for a variety of reasons,” Cervetto said. “I expect more to start showing up once they finish with work or vacations etc.”
The sooner players are in place; the better Cervetto will like it as he and his staff make adjustments to wearing masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We are going to be wearing masks in school, so we are working out while wearing masks,” Cervetto said.
The results of mask-wearing were mixed as players did get a break with the weather, but hustling back and forth between stations and sprinting for footballs caused some slippage.
“It’s something we are going to have to work through if we want to keep people healthy,” Cervetto said. “We haven’t had a single case so far.”
The Lions are out to prove they have what it takes to be a district champion after two straight 8-3 seasons that included a bridesmaid finish behind Jacksboro in 2019. The difference between being the runner up and the league champ was a 23-16 score.
Dublin returns 15 players with varsity experience and will dig deep into last year’s junior varsity to make up the difference.
“We will probably bring up 12-15 players and look at carrying up to 30 players at the varsity level,” Cervetto said. “We aren’t going to bring up a player if they aren’t going to get on the field.”
The Lions are unproven at quarterback, and the immediate top priority is finding a player who can manage the game. Still, the good news is Dublin’s offensive line appears to be its biggest strength.
“All the predictions don’t faze our kids, and the goal here is to make the playoffs and see where we go from there,” Cervetto said. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but it’s all about taking them one at a time and seeing what we got.”
District 2-3A is a group of 3-A heavy hitters with Comanche, Eastland, Jacksboro, Merkel, and Millsap making up the new league.
One big switch for fans is Dublin isn’t playing Hico in their opening game after having matched up against the Tigers for almost a decade. The switch out won’t hurt attendance as the Lions will be taking on De Leon August 28.