Hico rushes past improved Dublin

BRAD KEITH brad.keith@empiretribune.com
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Hico limited much-improved Dublin to just 111 yards of total offense and scored 27 unanswered points to beat the Lions 27-7 in a season opener at Dublin Memorial Stadium last Friday.

Dakota Mullins rushed for two touchdowns and …. each added one on the ground for the Tigers, who had to overcome three lost fumbles in the first half and an early 7-0 deficit.

"We're so young with seven or eight sophomores out there all the time, and when we turned the ball over on our first series and they went and scored I thought it could be a long night," admitted Hico head coach Keith Wood. "But we needed that. Our young guys did a good job of stepping up and growing up and our seniors - we only have five - did a good job of leading.

"You can tell (Dublin head coach Bob Cerveto) is doing the right things," Wood added. "Dublin is headed in the right direction."

After Hico fumbled away its initial possession, the Lions jumped on top when Clay Francis scrambled in for a touchdown and Juan Pantoja added the extra point.

"It was a little run-pass option and Clay read it and did a good job," Cervetto said.

Francis missed the entire preseason because of soreness from a car accident he did not cause followed by an illness.

"He hadn't been hit since last year," Cervetto said. "He's only going to get better the next couple weeks and we'll only get better around him."

Hico's defense took over from there, limiting Dublin to just 46 yards in the first half and only 111 for the game.

"I was so proud of our defense," Wood said. "They really kept us in the game while we were getting over our little turnover bug there in the first half. At halftime I told our guys to be sure to hang on to the football and we'll come out of it alright."

The Tigers rushed for more than 400 yards and attempted only two passes.

"The lights went out (briefly before the game because of a blown fuse), and I told Cervetto, we can still play," laughed Wood. "As long as we can get lined up and hand off the ball we're ready to go."

Cervetto wanted to win, but could see the vast improvement in his team, which lost to Hico 61-0 last year.

"Night and day," the second-year Dublin head man said. "The look in our kids' eyes, the way they carried themselves onto the field and during the game, it was just so different. Last year, we were still a lot of big things away, now we're just a few small things away. A few plays here and there changes a football game, and we're going to keep plugging and keep working so that we're the ones making those plays."

Dublin visits Millsap next Friday while Hico entertains Rio Vista in its home opener.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports