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2018 Prep Football Previews: Two-way starter looking to reverse Dayton’s run of losing seasons

The NKyTribune will be featuring each of the 21 high school football teams in Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties leading up to the first games of the 2018 season on Aug. 17. We will then provide focused coverage of our local teams throughout the regular season and into the playoffs.

By Michael Canizales
NKyTribune contributor

Since taking charge of the Dayton football program in 2011, head coach Chad Montgomery and the Greendevils have not been able to win more than three games in any of the last seven seasons.

Julian Jimenez and the other seniors on this year’s roster want to reverse that trend.

Dayton senior Julian Jimenez, left, will be a two-way starter at defensive end and offensive tackle for the Greendevils this season. (Photo provided by the team)

“I just want this year to end in a way where a lot of people will remember this senior class for a long time,” said Jimenez. “We want to be the stepping stones for changing the mindset and culture at Dayton.”

As many as eight seniors will be in uniform for Dayton this fall, but there are some promising players in each class.

The Greendevils will be led by running backs Trey Johnson and Jordan Marksberry, wide receiver Caulyn Asher and Jimenez, who will start at defensive end and offensive tackle.

“J.J. is going to be the heart and soul of this football team,” Montgomery said of Jimenez. “He’s going to be the guy that wreaks havoc for us up front and who we count on to get it done.”

Jimenez played defensive tackle last season and made 49 tackles, which ranked third on the team. But don’t let his numbers fool you, the coach said.

“With J.J., his stats kind of lie,” Montgomery said. “He gets double- and triple-teamed quite a bit. But for Class A football, he’s a good player and a very strong boy.”

This will be Jimenez’s first year as a starting offensive tackle. He’s concentrating on being a more physical player in that position than he was last year as an offensive guard.

“I’ve worked really hard since November,” Jimenez said. “I have great coaches who push me every single day because they know what I’m capable of and the impact I have on the field.”

As a junior, Jimenez said he faced a lot of adversity on the football field. It was the camaraderie with coaches and teammates that helped him overcome his obstacles.

Julian Jiminez

“Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t do this and just wanted to give up,” he said. “But I didn’t. My coaches and teammates were always there for me.”

Entering his final season, Jimenez has the opportunity to step into a leadership role and pass on his wealth of knowledge to the underclassmen, especially newly crowned starting quarterback Mike Marksberry.

“Mikey is like my brother,” Jimenez said.  “He faced a lot adversity as a sophomore and junior. He had to worry about proving himself as a quarterback, then as a center.”

After playing quarterback his whole life, Marksberry was moved to offensive center last season once it was decided that senior Seth Chinn would run the offense. While Marksberry struggled to learn that new position, Chinn led the offense with 1,700 yards in rushing and passing combined.

Now that Marksberry is back under center, Jimenez and the rest of the Greendevils believe he is also capable of putting up good numbers.

“I have a lot of faith in Mikey,” Jimenez said. “He knows all of us will be there for him because we know he will do the best for us.”

The Greendevils will open the season at home against Brossart on Aug. 17, followed by another home game against long-time rival Bellevue. Their second match-up against Bellevue on Oct. 12 will be a Class 1A district game and the annual Battle for the Paddle, a traveling trophy between the two river city schools.

“Historically they own the rivalry, but I feel like we’re closing the gap where it’s no longer one-sided,” Montgomery said of playing Bellevue.

It’s been more than a decade since Dayton won the Battle for the Paddle, but this year’s game could have an impact on the team’s goal of posting more than three victories this season.

“We’re just trying to get over the hump,” Montgomery said. “Our ultimate goal is a winning season and to host a home playoff game.”

2017 season: 1-10 record, lost in first round of Class 1A playoffs.
District: Class 1A, District 4 with Beechwood, Bellevue and Ludlow.
Head Coach: Chad Montgomery (13-34 in seven seasons at Dayton).

Aug. 17 – BROSSART, 7 p.m.
Aug. 24 – BELLEVUE, 7 p.m..
Sept. 7 – at Pendleton County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 – at Trimble County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 21 – BRACKEN COUNTY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28 – at Eminence, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 – at Ludlow, 7 p.m.
Oct. 12 – at Bellevue, 7 p.m.
Oct. 19 – BEECHWOOD, 7 p.m.
Oct. 26 – CARROLL COUNTY, 7:30 p.m.


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