For the first time since 2007, Dublin celebrated a district win Friday night.
Junior Brady Holleman passed for four touchdowns and the Lion defense forced five turnovers - all on fumbles - and had a safety as Dublin pummeled Merkel 43-14 at Memorial Stadium.
Head Coach Bob Cervetto was excited about his defense after the game, "They've worked their butts off. All year we've had two shut outs and this is a real confidence booster."
Holleman was 18-23 passing for 177 yards. His favorite target was senior Dirk DeVries, who hauled in seven catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Junior Travis Blazi also hauled in two touchdown receptions - both in the third quarter - despite having a cast on his arm.
Josh Jackson led the turnover party with two fumble recoveries for the Dublin defense.
It was tight for much of the first half. DeVries' two TD catches gave Dublin a 14-0 lead, before Merkel answered with a long drive culminating in a three-yard TD pass. The extra point failed.
Merkel appeared to be on its way to tying the game - or at least closing the gap - just before halftime, but Dublin's defense made a four-down stand inside its own 10 to preserve a 14-6 lead at halftime.
Merkel fumbled away the opening possession of the second half, and Dublin answered quickly with Blazi's first TD. Merkel scored then got a stop, but fumbled again thanks to a big hit by the Lion defense, and Holleman found Blazi again to make it 28-14.
Then the Lions really poured it on, scoring on a short run by Chuy Chacon, a safety when Merkel was penalized for intentional grounding in its own end zone - the result of yet another fumble - and finishing the rout when Holleman kept the ball on an option play and sprinted around right end for a short TD.
When the final whistle sounded, Dublin had scored the final 22 points in the rout.
Cervetto was exuberant on the field after the final buzzer.
"Winning is winning, it's really special to get this win because it puts us at 1-0 in district," he said. "We're a team that's growing and we're trying to build and build."
The next test for the Lions will be in two weeks in Comanche.
"You know when you play a sport, the more confidence you have the more settled you are, the better you perform," he said. "The kids are starting to gain confidence in what they're doing and it really gives us a chance."