Nerves aren't something that football fans will notice from Dublin head football coach Bob Cervetto no matter the stage. But the performance that his Dublin Lions have in front of them this Friday night may be the brightest opportunity the program has to once again shock the Texas football ranks as they open district play against No. 8 Cisco.
The Loboes are the first opponent in district play for Dublin in what some may consider the toughest district in the state of the Texas. One positive that the winless Lions have going for them is that they're coming off of their bye and have been keyed in on what to expect Friday night.
"We’ve had some great workouts and the kids have had great attitudes. They’ve worked their tails off," Cervetto said. "We know what’s coming up and we have to win a couple of them (district games) if we want to get into the dance. It’s not going to be easy, but we have to be ready."
Cisco's ranking may sound high, but the Lions have faced off against plenty of ranked opponents this year in their non-district schedule, including No. 4 Albany (2A, Division II). The hype of the opponent is already something Dublin's experienced several times so Friday's atmosphere isn't expected to overwhelm Cervetto's team.
"This is why we played a tough non-district schedule and teams who were ranked. This kind of competition isn't new to us," he said. "It’s not like we’ve played some lesser teams and this is the first top 10 team we’ve played. We understand what’s in front of us. We have to go out and try to win each play. We won’t look at anything past that."
Like Albany and several other Texas high school football programs, Cisco is a team that competes year in and year out. They are the mold of what coaches, including Cervetto, want to turn program's into.
"Cisco is a program that's been there 15 or so years where the kids believe in the program and they work hard and execute. We're trying to get to that point here in Dublin," Cervetto said. "They're a tough team to prepare for, but we have to go out and execute and keep moving the sticks. We also have to be consistent about it. We've shown signs of playing with that kind of effort, but we haven't put it all together for four quarters just yet."
While Cisco is the Lions' first 'money game,' the term Cervetto uses when referring to district contests, Dublin isn't changing anything in how they approach Friday. Despite an 0-5 record, the team is confident in what they've shown in their first five contests.
"You have to treat it just like another game. We have four teams that make the playoffs. There’s going to be a lot to play for between those four teams and a lot can happen between now and down the road of the season in the district standings," Cervetto said. "We want to make sure that if there’s a way to break into the four-team scenario, that we can break into it."
Dublin will look to to notch their first win of 2016 in Cisco at 7:30 p.m. Friday night.