For Dublin, this is odd.
In fact, being among Class AA’s 11 still winless football teams at the season’s mid-way point must feel somewhat out of body.
The Fighting Irish are perennial playoff contenders, who have reached at least the state quarterfinals six times in the last 10 seasons. In that span, they haven’t endured no worse a first half than 2-3. Last season, they reached the quarterfinals against eventual state champ Calhoun.
This season’s 0-5 record is definitely out of character, especially for a team that owns four state championships, sharing its last one six years ago with Charlton County. So far, Dublin hasn’t come within three touchdowns of an opponent.
Soberingly, it’s the Irish’s worst start since beginning 0-7 in 1988 and finishing 1-9.
“Without question, we’re in a tough situation,” Irish coach Roger Holmes said. “Our young men have made progress each week, but in very small increments.”
Injuries have been particularly burdensome for the youthful Irish, who this season returned only one starter on offense and three on defense. Making matters worse, one player broke his arm in Game 1, two others have had surgery and several have missed considerable time with major injuries. That’s not even counting the usual bumps and bruises.
Dublin’s on-line roster lists just 36 names, about half of other schools’.
However, perhaps just in time, comes Friday’s Region 3-AA home matchup with East Laurens. The Irish are 20-0 against the Falcons, and if there’s a game to get on track, this might be it. That encourages Holmes and his players, though injuries and youth still have them feeling like underdogs.
Holmes said the Falcons likely perceive themselves as favored, knowing how hobbled Dublin is. Yet he firmly believes that, if his team finds its footing, winning a seventh region title since 2002 remains possible. That optimism exists even after Dublin’s 36-14 loss to Westside Augusta in last week’s region opener.
“It doesn’t matter what’s happened 20 years previously,” Holmes said of facing East Laurens. “It’s where you are on a given day that really matters.”
Like Dublin, here are the class’ other teams looking to break into the win column this week:
Vidalia (5-0, 4-0) at Atkinson County (0-5, 0-4)
Jeff Davis (2-3, 1-3) at Metter (0-5, 0-4)
Crawford County (0-5, 0-2) at Bleckley County at Crawford County (3-1, 1-0)
Jordan (0-5, 0-3) at Bowdon (4-1, 2-1)
Social Circle (0-4, 0-1) at Greene County (0-4, 0-1)
Rabun County (3-1, 1-0) at Riverside Military (0-4, 0-2)