Lions fight for first win streak since 2006

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In the hit comedy Major League 2, the Cleveland Indians manager reminds his team they won a game yesterday and sarcastically points out that if they win one today and one tomorrow that's called a winning streak.

"It has happened before," he tells them.

It's happened before on the gridiron in Dublin, too. Just not in a long time.

The Lions (2-1) haven't won three straight games since 2006, but that's what they'll be aiming for at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Valley Mills (1-2).

"They're a lot like Santo but they have more speed," Dublin head coach Bob Cervetto said of Valley Mills. "Santo ran the Air Force wing-T with real big splits (between linemen); Valley Mills runs pretty much the same thing but with real tight splits. They're very similar."

That bodes well for a Dublin defense that held Santo to just seven points while forcing seven turnovers in the Lions' 10-7 homecoming win a week ago.

"Valley Mills has shown a tendency to put the ball on the ground, and our defense has had nine takeaways," Cervetto said. "I tell them, 'Keep being physical; we'll get some turnovers and we'll always have a chance.'"

The Lions seem to always have a chance when the ball's in the hands of Dirk DeVries, who had 140 of Dublin's 149 yards last week including 113 on the ground.

"Dirk stepped up admirably in the absence of Luis Garcia, who we get back this week," said Cervetto. "With Dirk coming on strong, the presence of Luis adds a lot of versatility to our offense."

Clay Francis has fired four touchdown the past two weeks, including hitting Jimmy Aguilar with a strike through traffic against Santo.

"Clay is just managing the game well and not getting us beat," said Cervetto. "That was a great pass he threw to Jimmy in the end zone."

It's homecoming in Valley Mills, so Cervetto knows to expect the same emotion Santo ran into from his team last week.

"They're going to be fired up and they'll want to get back at us after we beat them at our homecoming last year," said Cervetto. "But we had a great workout (Monday), and we're just looking to build on the little success we've had and teach the kids how to handle that success."

Cervetto says there are three musts for his Lions Friday - win first downs, have a short memory and be physical.

"Winning first downs keeps you in positive situations, and when something does go wrong, you have to forget about it because you can only control the next play," Cervetto said. "That and we have to continue to be physical. I think that's the biggest difference between us now and us last year; we're a lot more physical than we were."

If those keys work in the Lions' favor, Cervetto will be teaching Dublin not just how to handle success, but how to continue something else the Lions haven't recently known - a winning streak.

Follow Brad Keith on Twitter @etsports