ATLANTA - You could say our Week 8 Team of the Week has a good luck charm.
The undefeated Tri-Cities Bulldogs are led by first-year head coach Cuevas Dargan. But Dargan missed his head coaching debut for the Bulldogs.
But he had a good excuse: His wife was going into labor with their first child. So instead of pacing the sidelines on Aug. 19, he was coaching via FaceTime and text messaging at the hospital as the Dargans welcomed newborn Robyn Janae.
Since Robyn Janae Dargan was born, Tri-Cities has kept winning, outscoring opponents by a whallopping 172-8 margin. The Bulldogs are 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Class AAAAA Region 3 -- a dramatic turnaround from a 0-10 campaign a season ago. (Courtesy of Cuevas Dargan)
Since Robyn was born, Tri-Cities has kept winning, outscoring opponents by a whallopping 172-8 margin. The Bulldogs are 4-0 overall and 2-0 in Class AAAAA Region 3 — a dramatic turnaround from a 0-10 campaign a season ago. In fact, you have to go back to the 2015-2016 season to find a winning record at Tri-Cities. The Bulldogs have been 4-36 since 2016.
"We definitely have learned how to deal with adversity," Dargan told High 5 Sports. "These are the same kids that I've been with for maybe like two to three years. In previous years, there's times where we've been in games and things got tough, and we kind of fell on the other side of the stick, but this year, it's like even through the adversity, they stick it out, they play hard, and we always have found a way to come out on top this year."
Dargan came to Tri-Cities in 2016 as the linebackers coach, then was elevated to defensive coordinator last season before becoming head coach this year.
"I was able to see a lot of the kids grow under me, so it wasn't like when I got the job I didn't know them," he said. "I knew some of the things we needed to improve on. I think that's why we're having so much success, because I've been a part of the program when we didn't have success.
But Dargan isn't ready to take the credit for the Tri-Cities turnaround. He said the credit goes to his assistants, staff and the players, many of whom are seniors this year. He said being named the High 5 Sports Team of the Week is a big moment for this program.
"I can't even put it into words for them because they just feel so overlooked. It's going to be great because I know that we have a lot of student-athletes that feel like they're overlooked, they feel like they're not getting recognition, they're not getting the limelight, they're winning games, they're shutting people out, they're putting up points, and there's still a lot of naysayers out there," he said. "I think that's what fuels them every week because they don't think that people actually believe in what they're doing. Of course this award is going to brighten their day, but I think it's going to make them go a little harder, also."
Their biggest test yet comes Monday, Oct. 26, at 6:30, when the Bulldogs travel to Creekside to play a make-up game after the Seminoles cancelled the previous matchup due to COVID-19 issues.