Lions roar again in shutout of Millsap

BRAD KEITH brad.keith@empiretribune.com
The senior quarterback fired three touchdowns passes - two of them to Josh Stone - in Dublin's 23-0 win at Millsap Friday.

When a bus loaded with Lions pulled back into Dublin from its trip to Millsap Friday night, it was welcomed by a full parking lot of proud community members at the Dairy Queen.

When the same bus reached the high school, the cheerleaders and Dandilion drill team were all still there.

Dublin finally had reason to celebrate on a football Friday.

Clay Francis tossed three touchdown passes while the Dublin defense forced four turnovers and pitched a shutout in a 23-0 whipping of Millsap.

"Any win is big for a program, whether it's a team like Stephenville beating an Aledo or us where we're trying to grow," said second-year Dublin head coach Bob Cervetto. "We didn't play our best game; we're still getting better. But we grew (Friday). There was a great crowd and a great environment and we responded to that and remained physical throughout the game. It was good."

It was the first win since homcoming last fall when the Lions beat Valley Mills. They had lost seven straight.

Josh Stone wasn't able to help the Lions when they struggled through a 1-9 campaign in Cervetto's first season, but he was right at the center of the action Friday with two touchdown catches.

"Josh was hurt and missed the first five or six weeks last year, then every time he tried to come back something else would be injured. He was injured back-to-back-to-back," Cervetto said. "We knew he could help us if we could keep him out there, and it was sure neat seeing him get to have a big game. It was good to see all the kids have a big game."

Dublin led 2-0 after a bad snap sailed over the head of Millsap's punter into the end zone for a safety. Francis hit Stone for the duo's first TD to make it 8-0 later in the first, and the two hooked up again in the third.

Francis hit Travis Blazi with a two-point conversion pass to make it 16-0, then found Blazi for a scoring strike in the fourth. Juan Pantoja kicked the extra point to finish the scoring.

Jimmy Aguilar and Dirk DeVries - who also filled in for the injured Luis Garcia at running back - intercepted passes for Dublin, which also recovered two Millsap fumbles.

"Our defense did a really good job of making reads and getting where we need them to be," Cervetto said. "That's what we wanted to see get better from last week to this week and we did."

Cervetto said throughout the week he was confident his team would be as prepared as possible Friday, and wasn't disappointed.

"Coach (Greg) Hardcastle did a great job of preparing our offense, Coach (Steve) Carroll had our defense ready and Coach (Richard) Pringle took care of the special teams," he said. " I was proud of our whole staff because it was obvious we were a football team prepared to win."

Staff writer Jessie Horton contributed to this report

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports; follow Jessie Horton @flashetnews