Cervetto hopes summer gains propel Dublin to third-straight playoff appearance

CALEB MCCAIG cmccaig@empiretribune.com

While many Dublin High School students are preparing for their summer to come to a close in the middle of August, the Dublin Lion football team is closing out another summer program and are hoping that the gains they’ve made over the last couple months will fuel them to another playoff run.

With two-a-days two weeks away, the summer off-season programs have slowed down. The Lions are still hitting the weight room in packs, but it wasn’t always a full house.

“It’s kind of neat because every summer it’s gotten better. The first year I was here we averaged about eight kids coming up here to work out,” said Dublin Head Football Coach Bob Cervetto. “This year we’ve averaged about 50 kids coming out and we’ve had as many as 85 and that includes all of our athletes in all sports, girls and boys. Our participation has increased and so have our expectations and our work ethic. I think with what’s occurred this summer, we’re going to be all right.”

While the Dublin High School weight room is now a hot spot for student-athletes, Cervetto says he isn’t sure if that was always the case. He mentions that when he arrived he didn’t know if the school had a summer workout program, but since then things have changed - drastically.

“I just know that it was tough the first couple of years because the kids didn’t know the expectations,” he said. “It’s slowly been rising every year, but we’re still a long way from where we want to be. We’re making progress and that keeps us all motivated and keeps us going. All of our coaches are out there working with the kids and it’s turned into a really cool deal.”

Now with the summer program instilled in the Dublin athletic calendar, improvement is clearly the main focus. 

With Dublin being a 3A-DII school, the numbers aren’t large. Most athletes take part in more than one sport and that can make gains in the weight room difficult.

“We always want to improve. Whether it’s throwing, catching or making our footwork better. But our main focus in the summer is to improve our strength,” Cervetto said. “We don’t really get to do that in the school year. All of our kids play everything out here. We primarily focus on what it is that we can gain and still maintain flexibility and not lose speed during the year. When the summer comes along these individuals aren’t in the middle of a season and it allows them to put their focus on the weight room and really make some gains in strength.”

As summer nears its end for student-athletes participating in a fall sport, two senior Lions have stood out.

“I look at Brady Moore and he’s really set the tone being our senior quarterback,” Cervetto said. “Brayden Burleson was another one that’s coming back from a knee injury last year and he’s coming back strong and has been really impressive in his workouts. That’s what you want, seniors setting the tone and taking charge in doing what our ultimate goal is.”

The ultimate goal that Cervetto speaks of isn’t necessarily winning ball games or being perfect, but rather something much simpler.

“What I tell the kids is that we’re trying to create great memories,” he said. “Not everyone goes on to play college football. These times are about creating memories that you can rekindle on later in life when you get together with your teammates and relive these moments.”

That doesn’t mean that the Lions aren’t focused on winning games.

With a tough schedule throughout the fall, it appears that the Lions are once again headed in the right direction with Cervetto at the helm.

After the first-ever back-to-back playoff appearances in school history, Cervetto and Dublin don’t want to stop there. 

“It’s an exciting time for us, that’s for sure. We’re going to be challenged to see where exactly we are as a program this season,” he said. “Nine of the 10 teams on our schedule are in the pre-season top 25 in their classifications. They’re some good and well-coached football teams. For us to compete our kids are going to have to get tough this year and grit their teeth some in the pre-season to prepare for district. Our goal just like the last couple of seasons is to make the dance. Whatever it takes to get there, that’s our goal. Make the playoffs of the third consecutive year.”